Updated: Nov 5, 2019
One of the things I loved as a nanny was getting down to it. Getting on the floor, in the sand , in the mud, getting right into my wee ones world and experiencing it through them. As a nanny I was expected to get into everything, I was paid to play, to interact, to interpret their world and provide for it and them. As a parent I now know it really is the best way to have the best relationship with your wee ones.
Right from the moment you are happy to pop them on the floor ( as my Gran used to say , they cant fall off the floor )! You should be down there too , playing with the toys , interacting with your baby. Lots of eye contact , touching each other , showing them how the toys work. Singing , talking or heck telling them about your day. Just get down there and get stuck in. It is easy and sometimes needs must that we pop them down to play and wander away to get something done. Thats great , but we also must be aware that if we are in the room , its good not to sit on couch over them. I am an advocate for self play, maybe wrong words but allowing your kids to learn to entertain themselves is a very important skill as you are not always there and neither should you be to provide them with activities etc . But I am also an advocate for if you are in the room and you can get involved, learning to play with others and interact is also a wonder life skill that starts from an early age.
If you can get in to this habit of seeing the world from their point of view it has so many benefits for later years. To name a few , getting down and sitting one the floor allows them to talk to you face to face. They learn from watching you talk, how to move and vocalise. It is a wonderful way to encourage them to trust in you, to feel they can, talk to you. Having an open channel of communication even this young is vital in years to come.
Getting down to their level or bringing them up to yours, as in I used to sit a wee one ( if able to support themselves), on the bench with me, allows them to interact directly with you, to help with the things you are doing if you have lifted them. But also putting them on something saves your back and trust after 25 years of this, your body needs all the help it can get. Adults especially tall ones can be very daunting to small children. Even if you are their parents , by coming down to them , you take away the distance literally between you. Toddlers especially will hang off your leg at the most inopportune times for support (physically and emotionally ) so giving them a level playing field can help with the dreaded whinging and grizzling for attention.
I definitely feel getting down to the floor helps a child to feel acknowledged and safe as they strive out on their own , widening their horizons and boundaries inside and outside the home. If they know they have a safe space with you, they will be more adventurous and confident. Taking chances in their learning experiences. Watching you do it, copying what they see. I am not saying crawl around down there always. Trust me thats not helping anyone. Do try to have them in the high chair or bouncer in the kitchen, when they are really small, where they can see you and interact with you. When they are older, lie on the floor facing the celling and play with hands and feet , yours and theirs. Once they are sitting, getting close can help with learning body parts, heads shoulder knees and toes can only be executed face to face ! Once they are independent , don't be afraid to get in to the sand with them , make the mud pies and build the towers for them to knock over. We can get caught up in our other lives sometimes and not realise the impact of sitting on the couch or being up high and literally taking down to our kids can have. If you going to check your phone sit on the floor to do it and let them remind you by them trying to take it off you , to put it down and be with them. Playing with your child has been shown to increase development in language , social skills , cognitive development and gross motor skills and you are showing them how to do something till they master it on their own . Although I do love to sit back and watch them interpret an object , maybe a drum needs to be taste tested first and them hit with heels not hands. It's wonderful to see how they want the world to be.
Remember everything they do , will one day be the last time, so enjoy the limited time you have to do what ever it is with your child. The time passes too fast and will one day be gone and they will on their phones on the couch ignoring you.