Monday, July 26, 2004

The baby instruction manual

My baby did in fact come with a manual. From Tiny Tot to Toddler: A Practical Guide to Baby Care, published by the Institut national de santé publique de Québec (and translated into English poorly, but never mind), was handed to me before I left the hospital with Helena.

It didn't tell me much I couldn't figure out on my own, but it has actually provided me with a lot of reassurance over the last 20 months and continues to do so.

Similar instructions manuals are becoming popular in the United Kingdom — how to play with your children.

Parents will be issued with instruction manuals showing them how to teach traditional playground games such as hopscotch, skipping and hide-and-seek to their children in a new move to tackle soaring levels of obesity among young people.

"It's not rocket science, and a lot of it is things previous generations would have done without thinking. But while I don't want to sound demeaning to present-day parents, a lot of parents today haven't been taught particular games or nursery rhymes and so don't know how to pass those on to their children or do them with them," said David Maiden, the PE and youth sport manager with Fife Council.

The Play At Home manuals remind parents how to do everything from ring-a-ring-o'-roses to peek-a-boo to the hokey cokey.

I kind of wish I had one of those. Some days I think I haven't got a clue what to do with my baby. My book doesn't get into the specifics, but it does remind us that:

Interaction between a baby and his parents naturally promotes development. The best toys in the world cannot replace activities with mom and dad. Set aside time to play with your child.

This interaction will change as the child grows older. Do not tickle your baby to make him laugh without giving him time to catch his breath. Avoid shaking him too much.

Thanks for the tip.

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