Baby’s Sleep and Play Space – What to Do and Buy
Your baby will be spending a lot of time in his or her bedroom, especially during the first year of life. So making sure that it is designed to foster learning and stimulation is important. Of course, this is also the space where your baby will be sleeping, so you have to walk that fine line and make sure that the room is not over stimulating. In this chapter we will look at creating a stimulating sleep and play space, as well as what learning resources you should buy for your new baby.
When you think stimulating, you likely think of bright colors and loud patterns. When it comes to your baby’s nursery, however, these are typically best avoided. The reason for this is that you want your baby to be able to relax and sleep in his or her bedroom, and overly stimulating colors and patterns can make this exceptionally difficult. Instead of painting the walls a bright red or black, consider putting just a few vibrant items, such as a black and white crib mobile or a string of lights along the ceiling while keeping the rest of the room a soothing color.
If you are really looking to create a stimulating nursery without disrupting your child’s ability to sleep, consider auditory stimulation. Put a CD player or an mP3 player in the nursery and select music that your baby enjoys. Soft music will help your baby relax and fall asleep, while play songs and upbeat music can help keep baby’s brain stimulated during play time.
While you don’t need to go overboard and buy your new baby an entire room packed with toys, you will find that a few carefully chosen toys can help foster motor coordination and stimulation. For example, blocks are great for creating hand-eye coordination, color recognition, shape recognition, and much more. A selection of toys that offer different purposes and even different textures can be a great way to keep your baby happy and stimulated during play time.
Of all the things you can do to stimulate your child, none is more effective or important than reading to him or her. Because of this, setting up a reading space may be the single most important design element of the nursery besides putting in a safe and comfortable crib. Find a chair that will be comfortable to sit in for long periods of time, such as a glider or rocking chair, and fill a bookshelf with an assortment of picture books, board books, and exciting stories for babies. Consider using different voices when you read to your baby to add extra stimulation. Reading to your baby is a great way to bond, and it helps your baby develop language as well.
Other furniture you will want to have in your nursery of course includes a crib or bassinet. Look for one that is designed to be safe and that can’t pinch, crush, or suffocate baby. Many older cribs have rather dangerous designs, so even though that hand-me-down from when you were a child might look wonderful in the nursery, you are probably better off buying a new or gently used crib or bassinet. Another piece of furniture to consider is a changing table. While you can certainly change your baby just about anywhere, many parents find that a changing table is a great convenience and that it can spare them a lot of back pain when they are changing upwards of ten diapers every day!
Designing the perfect nursery is as much about personal taste as anything else, but making sure that it is designed to help stimulate baby while still providing a cozy place to sleep is important.
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