(Video: Watch Jessica cheer on baby Hadassah as she navigates obstacles to get what she wants)
We have so many worries as parents: Is that safe? That looks like it’s full of germs. What if he puts it into his mouth? Yet research has correlated the amount of freedom children have to explore with their later cognitive abilities.
Having plenty of chances to engage with the real world without restrictions—digging around in (safe) drawers and cupboards, feeding himself, playing in a pile of rocks outside, figuring out how to get himself to something that is out of reach—is excellent for your baby’s brain.
We do so much for our children: change their diapers, prepare their food, bathe them—we help them with just about everything. It is easy to forget how capable they are becoming.
It may seem bizarre to consider letting a sweet little baby solve his own problem; our instinct is to protect him and keep him comfortable. Yet letting him struggle a little bit to get that toy or use a spoon to feed himself helps him build both competence and confidence.