When a busy to-do list commandeers your day, it becomes even more challenging struggling to keep baby happy. His world is suddenly turned upside down and his regular schedule is completely disrupted. Instead of crawling around exploring, he’s confined to a car seat or grocery cart.
Even when you understand your child’s frustration, it’s hard to keep him content and still complete those necessary errands. These tips will help you find a happy medium to keep him amused and still have a productive day.
First, try to understand exactly why your child is upset. Is she bored? Tired? Insecure? Or fascinated by the new surroundings and unable to explore? Your baby easily picks up on your mood clues. If you’re anxious and edgy, she will be also. Try to demonstrate a calm composure.
Maintain strong lines of communication with your baby. Talk to her about what you’re doing, where you’re going, what color the receptionist blouse is. Explain why you have to wait in line and the sound of your voice will comfort her as well as develop an understanding of language. Hum her favorite songs, recite a comforting nursery rhyme and divert her attention from confinement and boredom. This helps teach your child how to appease himself and build his own level of patience.
Since your baby will be out of his normal environment, probably stuck in a car seat or carrier most of the day, try to let him stretch his legs frequently. Take him out of the carrier so he can sit in your lap or stand next to you in the waiting room. Just a few minutes of holding will give him a new perspective and extra snuggle time with you.
Remember, babies become exhausted much easier and faster than adults. Try to follow his regular nap and feeding schedule. Even an hour can feel like an eternity to a baby. If he has to eat on the run, make sure you give him a few minutes of quality attention and try not to rush him.
Remember, impatience usually is a child’s way of garnering your attention. Address him directly and give him a job. Let him put lightweight items in the cart when he throws them out to get your attention. Let him know you understand his fatigue and he has your support, not frustration.
When waiting in line, get intimate. Speak softly in your baby’s ear and give her lots of eye contact.
Take items from home to simulate their regular environment. A small photo album of siblings, pets, and favorite objects can hold her attention. Keep a special toy that she only sees when you shop. That way it will retain its mystery and take her curiosity from the shiny items on the shelves.
Pack extra pacifier and her favorite comfort object, stuffed animal or blanket to help her feel more secure as she becomes restless. When possible take your significant other, friend or relative with you. An extra face not only creates a diversion, but allows one person to constantly give your child attention.