Monday, January 23, 2012

A Simple Challenge Saves a Rainy Day

It's a very stormy Monday out here in "sunny" northern California, a situation that put me in mind of a tip to share with housebound families. A month or so ago I wrote about how to provide a new landscape for your crawling baby by putting pillows from the sofa or chairs on the floor. Today I want build on that theme with a tip for toddlers. As is true with crawling, when children first begin to walk, they take great pleasure in the act itself. Rather than always moving to get a toy or reach a door, for the newly walking toddler the simple process of getting from here to there is often enough.

The truth of this observation was brought home to me one rainy day when I was babysitting my 18-month-old twin grandchildren, Nate and Olivia. I was just about out of ideas for entertaining them when I happened to spy a folded up card table in the laundry room. Hmmm…what could I do with that? At first I set it up and draped a sheet over it hoping they would be intrigued by a new “cave” to hide in. No luck. For some reason they were scared to go in. (This idea worked great a few months later.)

Feeling disappointed, I collapsed the card table and just left it (top up) on the floor as I went to let the dog out. When I turned back around, much to my delight, I found Nate and Olivia giggling as they stepped up the 1.5 inches to the top of the table, moved around the top a bit, and then gingerly stepped down again! Now, that might not seem all that exciting to you and me, but to a newly walking child, the challenge of stepping up and down this slight rise without losing one’s balance was a source of great satisfaction—and fun. Believe it or not, that card table kept them occupied for nearly 30 minutes!

Sometimes the simplest pleasures give the greatest joy.

Happy Signing (and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook)!


Linda Acredolo, Ph.D.
Co-Founder, the Baby Signs® Program
Professor Emeritus, UC Davis
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