Thursday, April 23, 2009


Barbara's doing a Blog Carnival and I was determined participate, so here I am, sliding into home at the last minute with this thing. The topic is "how have you arranged your home to stimulate your child's development?" Since I'm putting this together at the last minute, I don't have any current pictures. I wanted to put pictures in, though, so here are a bunch from the last year to illustrate my points.

I think I really wanted to participate because this is a topic that really speaks to me. I am one of those people that loves to peek into other people's homes and see what they're doing for their children. Here's a chance to peek into mine--please pay no mind to giant pile of laundry on the floor.

The majority of our time is spent at home. On a perfect day, we'll leave the house for a very short time or not at all. This is not because I like it this way--I actually love to get out and do things--but because Charlie's has the most productive days when he's home.

I think that every parent struggles with finding a routine/strategy that not only work for their family, but that is easy to keep up with. For us, I set up our home like a series of stations. Each area of the house has different equipment and different toys for Charlie to play with. This way, he's in different positions throughout the day and stimulated in different ways.

When we're in the kitchen, Charlie sits in his high chair. He has a few toys that he uses only in that spot, but we also work on self-feeding. Typically, I'll put a few snacks of different sizes on his tray and let him experiment with that. While he still hasn't mastered the pincher grasp, he can get almost any size object off his tray now. We also work on cup drinking while we're in the kitchen. Charlie's favorite activity while in the high chair is throwing things on the floor, which I am slightly less enthused about. Before Charlie was able to operate toys, we would hang bells off the kitchen counter so they rested very close to his hands. He would move his arms and the bells would sound, which he loved. It's also fun to let him smell whatever we're cooking with--garlic, lemon, cilantro--a little sensory stimulation.

When we're in the living room, Charlie is typically on the floor. We make a circle of different toys and he crawls from one to the other, rolling and crawling along the way. When Charlie was younger, floor time was a lot more abbreviated. We would lie him face down on a crib toy and his movements would activate it. I would also put him on his back and let him kick a crib toy, which was the first toy he was able to activate.

We also usually work on weight-shifting or kneeling while we're in the living room--something that doesn't involve equipment.

We keep the equipment in the room with the computer. I'm cheating here because there are no pictures of the computer room. It's also an office/guest bedroom/general junk room, so I'd rather die than take a picture in there. That is where we keep the stander and the Rifton chair, though. It's a little personal bribery on my part. I love to be on the computer, so I put Charlie in his equipment while I'm on the computer. That way, I'm encouraged to use the equipment. I never put him in equipment back to back, so we're usually in and out of the room a couple of times a day. Typically, I put him in his Rifton chair during the day and my husband and I put him in the stander at night and we all hang out in there as a family.

When I'm taking a shower, we put Charlie in his bed with one of those baby gym things overhead. He's too old for it, but he loves it, so that's fine with me. Plus, when it was developmentally appropriate, he wasn't strong enough to really enjoy it.

We also put him in a reclining chair in the living room--usually in the evenings. He plays with toys here too and since it's reclined he really has a chance to play with the toys without worrying about gross motor skills.

So, that's our home. As you can see, we're not equipment-crazy. Rather, I prefer to look at us as position-focused and just let the rest fall into place.