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Parenting Tips to Cope with Your Newly Crawling Baby

Posted Sep 22 2008 10:25am

Your baby has started crawling!  As if shot out of a cannon, she now takes off for anywhere she can, whenever she can.  You’ve hurriedly secured your house; you’ve put up cabinet locks, gates, and electric outlet covers.  You’re assured she can’t hurt herself in the obvious places.  Yet there are still times when your baby will take off for places you’d rather she not.

That area of bare floor where, if she pulled herself up and fell, she could hurt herself?  The section of the hallway that you haven’t vacuumed yet?   The eggs on your kitchen floor that your other child just spilled?  These are the places she’s headed first.  She wants to get into everything she hasn’t explored yet, no matter how dangerous.  No exceptions.

Your desperate “get-back-here-right-now”s are a hilarious game to her, not a command.  She doesn’t understand yet that there are some places she should not go.  Your “Stop!” makes her halt once, look back at you, grin, and then redouble her zoom-here-zoom-there-zoom-everywhere behavior.

She’s not trying to make trouble, but it sure feels like it when you have to chase after her and snatch her up all the time.  Sometimes your hands are full, like when you’re rolling out piecrust or holding another child.  Maybe you’ve got a sore back and can’t pick her up easily.

You can’t keep her locked in her play yard all day, but boy, are you tempted!  Luckily, there’s another solution to getting her back that perhaps you haven’t tried yet.

Lure her back!  Yes, that baby in a crawling frenzy will sometimes go where you want her to of her own free will.  The trick is to get her to want to, too.

Try these tips on your adventurous baby:

Lure her back with a ball. 
Keep a ball that’s soft and light enough for her to bat around on the hallway floor.  When your baby zips off down the hallway, call her name and tap it with your foot so it goes toward her.  She’ll stop, look around, and turn around to play with the ball.  With enough practice manipulating the ball, she’ll quickly get the hang of the baby version of “catch.” This is a very effective way to move your unsuspecting baby along in the direction you choose—rather than her own.

Lure her back with a song, dance, or other performance. 
This lure to get a baby into her bedroom (or any other room) requires some finesse.  When you start yodeling, often the baby will stop, stare at you, grin with delight—and turn around and dash off again.  The secret to getting your baby to come is to back up slowly until you’re no longer visible—ideally ending up in her bedroom—while continuing to perform for her listening pleasure.  If she likes the show enough, she may just follow you into the room for an encore.

Lure her back with a “What’s this?”
“What’s this?” will get any baby’s attention right quick.  Say, “What’s this,” and she’ll make a dash your way to investigate.  Here’s how it works:  Make a quick grab for the nearest interesting, safe and new object.  Remember, new is the key.  The familiar toy won’t earn more than a contemptuous glance.   So “What’s this?  Your favorite fluffy bunny?” will have her looking at you like you’re insane.  “Me?  Return for that?  But I haven’t explored the dusty vacuum cleaner yet.  See you later!”

“What’s this?  Your father’s favorite baseball cap?” will do, or “What’s this? Oh, boy, is it an oven mitt?  Is that what it is?” or even “What’s this?  What’s this, baby?  Is it the half-torn return reply envelope for the telephone bill that I just paid online?  Wow!  You’ve got to see this!  That’s right.  Come to Mama.”"

The benefit of these “lure the baby” games is more than just saving you the trouble of hauling your baby everywhere.  It teaches your baby how to manipulate new toys and objects and that doing what you want gets her rewarded.  And it saves your aching back, so instead of chasing her around twenty times an hour, you only have to do it ten times an hour.

Even ten times an hour can put a strain on your back.  But don’t worry; the crawling stage will soon be over.  Before you know it, your baby will be standing on her own.  And walking.  Everywhere.  But that is another parenting adventure.

See Child n’Parent Parenting Tips for Soothing Your Baby to Sleep and Car Seat Safety.

By Karen Proctor

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