We all want our babies to be happy and content. And it seems that the marketing around baby must-haves tap into our desire for mindful mini-humans. Look at baby yoga for newborns, all the adorable mobiles we could ask for and hours of soothing tunes ‘for baby’ on You Tube.
But here at Toddlekind HQ we have a different feeling on the matter of helping our babies reach a state of mindfulness. I look at my baby and often think she could teach me a thing or two about mindfulness. Babies experience the world in such a pure way, completely submersed in the moment, totally focused on what they are doing. For example, my baby daughter today spent about 45 minutes on her Toddlekind playmat examining and sucking a label on a teddy. She was perfectly content on her own journey of exploration, and learning through touch.
As adults we often subconsciously pull babies and children out of their state of mindfulness. From the moment they are born we think we need to stimulate their minds - black and white contrasting material books line cots and brightly coloured objects dangle from their baby gyms. When they grow older we catch their attention with “flashcards”, or “look at this car, teddy, let mummy read you a book”.
It’s almost ironic that as adults we are on a quest for mindfulness and yet babies seemingly achieve it without effort. We worry about their need for stimulation so we pull them into our world, away from their pure mindful state. But if a baby’s needs are met with love and affection - do they need additional stimulation?
With my first child, I did all the flashcards and overstimulating - convinced that I could help her on the road to becoming a genius! But with my second child, I can see that without this, she already seems happy and content - which is ultimately all we would wish for. What do you think? Should we encourage our children to take more from their environment by bringing their attention to things they might not normally take notice of? Or should we support their own personal learning though play and exploration?
Like most things, a balance seems to be the best way forward and by being attentive to our baby’s needs, we can work out how best to keep them happy. In doing this, and spending time observing our babies as they relax on their playmats, perhaps we can learn about focus and concentration on the little details, away from the hustle and bustle of the real world.