From taking steps toward the stairs to learning that bubbles don’t taste good, exploration is a part of development for babies and young children. Yes, this is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful. Parents quickly learn to say “no” when their childs exploring becomes dangerous .
Parents are encouraged to become “explorer parents.” They focus on raising resilient, confident and adventurous children through challenge and discovery. Here are a few tips:
Aid in discovery. Encourage and applaud baby’s healthy risk-taking, such as mastering a challenging stair climb or pushing through moments of frustration and failure.
Let baby be free. Allow your baby to explore the natural environment. Look for opportunities that allow him or her to make a manageable mess and even get wet or dirty with unstructured play adventures.
Engage the senses. Exposing your baby to new flavors and smells helps engage him or her on a multi-sensory level. Expose them to different textures and flavors. Encourage even more sensory exploration by allowing your baby to smell the food and even play with it using his or her fingers.
Provide early exposure to new places. Bringing baby along to restaurants and other public spaces allows for positive exposure to new places, people and sounds, which can help build the immune system, encourage social interaction and support development.
Try pausing, allow your child to naturally find his or her limits while managing your own fears and worries. This tactic can allow your young explorer an opportunity for cognitive and social-emotional development with you as a safety net nearby.
Parents should prioritize their baby’s exploration and provide learning opportunities for growth. Don’t allow your own fears to impede your children.