Your baby’s first few months and years are so important and formative; your first decisions as a parent can form your wee one’s habits for the rest of their life. As terrifying as that sounds, there are tons of ways to set them down the right path from the get-go. These eight tips and tools will have your baby active and healthy, but don’t worry—you can take all the credit.
1. Long Stroller Walks
Starting baby off early with long stroller walks and jogs in the park will get your baby used to the great outdoors. A lot of parents are too afraid to expose infants to the outdoors because they’re worried about germs and bacteria harming their little immune systems, but that could be doing more harm than good. Get your baby used to spending time outdoors from an early age, and you’ll build a habit that keeps them healthy through their formative years.
2. Baby Play Mat
Moms (and dads) have a lot on their plates, and it can be tempting to put baby in a playpen or infant chair simply to keep them out of the way while you knock a few things off your to-do list. But keeping baby active during leisure time with a simple baby play mat can be so beneficial to their development, helping them learn how to reach, grab, roll over, and overall increase their motor skills. Give your baby the gift of play and learning with a fun play mat or activity gym.
3. Less Sedentary Time
Babies tend to spend a lot of time sitting–-whether they’re in their high-chair for two hours actively refusing all attempts at feeding, or sitting in the car seat as you run your 16 daily errands. Too much sedentary time can promote obesity, laziness, and overall unhealthy habits as they grow. Keeping your baby busy during awake time is so beneficial to their mental and physical development, it’s worth skipping a chore or two (gasp!).
4. No TV Time
So many parents love to plunk babies in front of the television to keep them happy and occupied for a chunk of time, but studies show that babies should not be exposed to any screens until they’re at least 2 years old. This can sound pretty shocking in a culture obsessed with technology and entertainment, but when babies are staring at the TV, they’re actively not learning facial expressions, verbal language, body language, and important social interactions. This can slow their development and hinder them in school and work in later years.
5. Baby Bouncer
Baby bouncers are a fantastic way to encourage healthy, active babies, because it forces them to jump, sway, bend and stay moving. They’re engaged and happy, which makes Mommy and Daddy happy too.
6. Gym Class
There are tons of baby gym classes in most communities that help promote development and healthy activities. So many varieties are popping up, like baby yoga, kinder music, baby gymnastics, dance classes, and even baby karate. Get your baby moving, grooving, and karate chopping nice and early!
7. Outdoor Carrier
If you love the outdoors, your best chance at passing this onto your baby is by making it a family excursion from a young age. Bring baby on hikes, picnics, and adventures with the help of a dedicated outdoor carrier. This pack lets you carry both infants and toddlers on your back with extra handy pockets for water, insect repellant, and sunscreen.
8. Backpack Stroller
Bringing baby out and about can be exhausting, thanks to the sheer number of items you need to pack and the hassle of navigating crowds with a stroller. This nifty stroller is changing the game, with a clever design that lets it fold up into a backpack. This means that your wee one can be mobile, but when they get tired you’re prepared with a quick-to-assemble stroller (preventing a terrible tantrum!).