Thursday, January 17, 2013

Movement vs. 'Containment' with Babies & Toddlers

My blogger friend, Jen of Mama.Papa.Bubba, posted a video on Facebook yesterday that I found really interesting, talking about the Montessori perspective on a critical period in children's development, particularly pertaining to movement. Here's the video--it's quite interesting & only six & a half minutes long:

This video brought up some really interesting questions for me. Virginia Varga talks about avoiding constraining babies so that they can work on their motor skills. I definitely agree that we should avoid having babies in various containers too much (stroller, car seat, chair, swing) rather than being held. I also remember when Sprout was really little, I was encouraged by the public health nurse not to let him lie on his back on the floor all the time because he'd get a flat head. But he hated being on his tummy & couldn't sit up yet, so my compromise was strapping him in a baby seat/rocker thing or a swing. I wonder if that had any impact on him starting to walk at 17 months.

I'm not really second-guessing my decisions because, of course, temperament is a factor. Sprout's a physically cautious child, generally. He tends to wait until he knows how to do something, rather than just diving in & attempting it before he's ready to do it well. When he did start walking, he was quite steady on his feet--none of the toddling you tend to see with babies under a year who start walking.

The other thing I found interesting in the video is the idea of not constraining children during sleep: having a low bed near the floor so they can get up & be somewhat independent. We just took the front off Sprout's crib recently so he can do this. I see a little of the learned helplessness in him some mornings when he wakes up really early & just calls to us, rather than getting out & coming into our room. After being in a crib for two & a half years, he hasn't figured out that he can just come to us when he wakes up & needs a cuddle. He has, however realized that he can just get out when he doesn't feel like going to bed at night.

One argument for having children in a crib is so they don't get out & get into trouble in the middle of the night. Also, I'd say it's essential to have a safe place to put a baby or toddler when you're home alone with your child & you need a break or a shower or whatever. What do you do with your one-year-old when you need to take a shower or run downstairs to do the laundry if you have no safe form of containment? I was never organized enough to schedule all those things into naptime.

If you watched the video, what did you think? Do you think the decisions you made in terms of 'containing' your child made a difference in their development, or do you think temperament has more to do with it? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section... 

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  1. Apparently, you have a spam problem on this site, and its name is Anonymous.

    Seriously, though, I don't think the video you mentioned embedded in this page, so I can't watch it...or comment! :-)

    1. Yeah, those spammers used to just hit my older posts, which is why I put the annoying comment moderation on week-old posts. Then they got sneakier & I had to move it up to three-day-old posts. Now I have to check daily to make sure they didn't hit my latest post. DELETE!

      Also, thanks for the heads up on the video. I'm not sure what happened there, but the code wasn't even there when I checked the HTML. Should be all fixed now. Let me know what you think if you've still got time today. :)


Thanks for commenting! (I've had to enable comment moderation on older posts to thwart spammers, so your post may not appear right away.)


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