How to create routine at home for your newborn in the middle of a pandemic
Phase 2 may have been announced, but safe distancing will not be disappearing just yet. If you’re the parent of a newborn child, you’re likely concerned about how vulnerable your little one is to COVID-19.
Planning to stay home for longer than usual to avoid exposing your newborn to the virus is a valid response, and it might even be the better option than trying to quickly assimilate back to “normal” life as well. It’s important at this point to remember that staying home with your baby does not necessarily mean a loss of routine and opportunities for growth and development!
Your routines begin… at home
The first three years of a baby’s life are paramount to their fundamental developments and growth. This includes learning basic motor skills, interacting with their environment and caregivers, and beginning to communicate and socialise with other human beings.
You might think that it means your newborn needs to be exposed to other babies or playmates, and that the pandemic is going to hinder their growth, but that’s not the case. In fact, your newborn’s first playmate should be you, the parent.
It’s time to establish a daily routine for your newborn – and you! So how do we get started?
Make sure that this routine can be carried out seamlessly every single day, from planned activities such as learning how to walk, playtime, and even attempting conversation with your little one. Newborns are too young to be self-directed even during playtime, so as parents, you need to be prepared to accompany your baby all day long while maintaining the routine.
Why is a routine important? A baby can sense when something is wrong, even if they don’t understand it or cannot verbalise their discomfort. As parents, it’s up to us to provide that continued sense of security at home, even if things are dreary outside with the virus.
However, a baby’s daily routine is not the only important part of staying indoors while waiting out the pandemic period.
Parents’ well-being must be prioritised too
Staying home for a prolonged period can take a toll on one’s mental health as well as affect their emotions. So,here’s rule number one: parents should protect themselves first before they can take care of their children.
Establish a routine that regularly allows each parent to decompress and escape that dreadful cabin fever feeling. This may include taking walks and communicating frequently with each other about how each person is feeling day by day, and extending help in caring for your baby if you sense your spouse is having a hard time. Check in with each other throughout the day and be prepared to provide emotional support – or even space! – for one another.
As much as a routine for a baby is important for his or her development, a healthy routine for parents is just as paramount to ensure the entire family is stable and well taken care of.
Activities to do at home with your newborn
Apart from the usual developmental activities like teaching your child how to speak and walk, a newborn needs to be in constant contact with his parents. Here are some ideas as to what you can do at home with your baby:
- Tummy time, where your newborn can practice holding up his head
- Listening to music
- Reading time for your baby
- Give your newborn different objects to feel and interact with
- Bring your newborn around different rooms for new sights
- Online videos or classes for slightly older babies
The idea is to provide as many opportunities as possible for your newborn child to begin developing his or her basic skills with their five senses, and socialise them with your constant presence (not to mention getting them accustomed to human speech). Get into the groove of the routine and make it part of your daily life, and you won’t be worrying whether your child is getting the development he or she needs.
It’s important to remember that whatever that was out there for your newborn to experience can also be found right at home, where he or she will spend most of his life – especially with you, the parent.
Even though it doesn’t feel completely safe to go out yet, it just means that now is a good time to look inward to see how creative you can get with your home routine, to make sure your newborn baby still gets the care and attention he or she needs, even in a time like this.
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