Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Enjoying The Outdoors With Your Infant or Toddler

As a new mom, I was pretty nervous--to hold the baby, to bathe the baby, to take it anywhere! But then I realized that my baby loved to be outdoors! I had three summer babies and a good stroller. They're eyes would light up at the sights and sounds. They would turn their little faces to the sunshine and the breeze. At first, I just took them on walks. Soon I was laying a comfy blanket on the ground in the shade and watching their precious faces gaze at the trees. When they were big enough, we got a baby swing and we headed to the park frequently. They would squeal with delight while swinging outside. They would start to hit major milestones like pointing at a bird, or clapping their hands at a flower. I have a picture of my daughter with yellow under her nose because she tried to "sniff" a dandelion!

When summer turns into fall, there are new things to see and explore. Bird watching and crunchy leaves are some of our favorites! Plus you get to dress your baby in those cute little sweaters and hats! Some parents think that when winter comes your days of being outdoors are over until spring comes again. Too cold, too wet, too windy, etc. Yes, I was one of those moms. Then I did some research and talked to other parents. Bundle your baby up and get outside! Make sure your baby is dressed warmly, hat and socks included, tuck blankets into the stroller with them and take a short winter walk- its a whole new experience for your little one! The fresh air is amazing, new colors to see, maybe let them taste a little snow.... of course if it's ten below and blizzard weather, use your common sense!

Now for the exciting news! Not only is letting your infant enjoy the outdoors super fun, it's incredibly good for them developmentally and physically. It promotes physical development by giving them opportunities to crawl in the grass, or pull themselves up to a bench. It promotes social development when they get to observe other people and even play or "talk" to people (you just know that grandma at the park is going to come talk to your cute baby!!). It definitely promotes sensory stimulation--the smell of a flower, the touch of the wind, the sound of the birds, the taste of dirt--oops, just kidding! However you want to put it, taking your infant outdoors is a great thing!

Happy Parenting!!

JL Kaylor

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