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Do babies get bored?

As a parent educator, I’ve heard this question posed a number of times.

The reason why many parents are concerned about their baby getting bored is that they feel it is their “job” to make sure baby is entertained at all times. In my parenting practice I encourage parents to let go of feelings of a sense of urgency that they have to create the perfect environment and make sure baby is stimulated and challenged at all times. This is unnecessary and can cause increased stress for the new parent who is already feeling overwhelmed.learn more about parenting at http://www.janadaclark.com/cyber-savvy-parenting/

It is a myth to think that babies bore easily and that it is a parent’s job to rescue a baby from boredom. In fact according to Magda Gerber, an infant expert, the opposite is true.

“Babies don’t get bored unless parents have conditioned them to require external stimulation and entertainment.”

What does this mean for the new parent?

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Don’t condition them to rely on constant external simulation from you.

Sometimes let your baby explore on their own without picking them up or moving the toys around for an easier reach or view. Babies are curious about everything: The light fixture above, the wallpaper, the pattern in the carpet, the contrast between light and darker walls or furniture. Objects that we take for granted are all up for consideration and discovery. Ordinary to us, babies focus on patterns, colors and textures in their world. Allowing them to focus on these everyday objects can promote a longer attention span.click here to learn more about baby behaviors

Trust your baby’s natural ability to learn through self-directed exploration. Self-directed exploration is the art of allowing your baby to examine things that interest him, rather than showing him things you think will interest him. You may be surprised how your baby can become fascinated with something ordinary much longer that you would have thought possible.

You may feel the urge to pick them up quickly as soon as they begin to fuss. Ask yourself, “Is baby tired?” Because a baby grows more during their first year of life than at any other time, it is natural that baby will tire easily. Many if not most of baby’s cries are related to just being tired. Babies can’t “tune out” when being stimulated and can easily become overstimulated. Thinking a baby’s cry is because they are bored could cause you to compound the problem of stimulating them even more. And what they really need is just rest.

The challenge is to know the reason for crying. Is the cry from a bit of frustration over acquiring a new skill like grasping an object or moving their body toward an object?     Or is the baby truly tired? Over time as you gain experience and get to know your baby’s cues, you will learn the difference. If you don’t allow a bit of fussing now and then, you will never know for sure if your baby is struggling over trying to learn a new skill or just tired.

In her book Your Self-Confident Baby, Magda Gerber sums this discussion wisely, “I think what is typically called boredom is tiredness. I don’t believe that babies become ‘bored’ in an adequate environment. Rather it is our projection: we think they are bored.”

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