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I had a visit from a sales person today. He is selling a kit that will help to stimulate my baby and says that it is really vital that I get it, to make my baby clever. I feel torn, part uneasy that my baby might miss out if I don’t get this expensive kit, and part unhappy that I am being conned. Are there toys that I simply must buy?

Small babies can get all the stimulation that they need from your active participation in their lives. Toys are a fun addition, but you should not believe that your baby will be at a disadvantage if you do not have all the best and newest toys. Since texture and form are fascinating to a baby, you can provide plenty of stimulation using things you have around the house!

Make sure that you are spending plenty of time every day talking and playing with your baby. Do not get so bogged down in chores that you are unable to justify playing time. And when you are doing chores, tell your baby what you are doing and make every day activities fun. Turn routines such as dressing into games with singing and counting.

The simplest and best games for the first few months include making plenty of eye contact and making faces for your baby to enjoy and later copy. Chatting with baby as you get through the day may make you feel silly, but it vital for your baby’s language development. Simply telling him what you are doing (As in ‘Ok, let’s do the washing up now. Look the water makes lots of bubbles’ It sounds silly to you, but not to him!) Cuddling is important, as is gentle tickling and blowing on baby’s skin to make him laugh.

From very early on babies enjoy being read and sung to. It’s a really good habit to get into, and can be used to calm baby down when required. Use duplicate photos to make up small albums for baby to play with and examine. Babies love anything to do with themselves, so include some time in front of a mirror as part of fun play!

As you can see, you do not need any kind of special toy or qualification to give your baby the best start possible. Just your attention and time, and including your baby in your every day life makes baby’s day into an exciting adventure.

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