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Staying at Home: It's Not All About Cooking and Cleaning

Do not be put off by the thought of staying home just because you don't like doing dishes, laundry, and other housework. The main focus when you stay home should be on caring for your family. Housework is a potential extra, but you'd be doing some even if you worked outside the home. Caring for your baby can be a lot of fun and very rewarding.

Add Structure to Your Day

Structure can be something to help you figure out how your days will go. You may love a routine, and you are welcome to use the same theories when you have kids, but obviously, flexibility is a must. Find out what you like to do with your baby and plan for these activities.

When you get up in the morning, have a plan for what you'll do. Obviously, breakfast is one of the first items on your agenda. Will you immediately shower and get dressed, or will you play a bit with your baby first? Finding a rhythm that works for you and for your baby can help you approach each day with purpose. Some babies do thrive on routines, though not stringent ones, particularly when it comes to feeding.

Essential

After playtime, it's a great idea to teach your child to pick up, even if at first he only watches you do it. Try to show your little one that picking up toys after playing is not only necessary, but it can also be fun. Sing a song about cleaning up toys as you put them back in their places. Your baby will love this.

Fill your calendar with fun and laughter, and don't be afraid to go out and have adventures. Just remember to alternate periods of play with periods of rest. You can overschedule even a small baby. And, of course, you need your rest as well.

What to Do All Day

When faced with the prospect of spending each and every day at home with your baby, you might become overwhelmed. What will you do all day, anyway? This is totally up to you, so be creative. Do you like to exercise? Does your baby enjoy the stroller? Try taking a walk with your baby. The more your walk, the more exercise you get. Turn each walk into a lengthy discussion of what you see. Every time you point to the neighbor's dog, your baby is storing the information. One day you'll be rewarded with your baby's shouting out, "Dog!"

Remember that your baby learns through playing. This means that all the playing that you can do with your baby is a great opportunity for him to learn. Singing learning songs, like your ABCs, counting out the number of objects you lay on a blanket or the number of kisses you give your baby—these are all learning situations for him. They also tend to be fun for you.

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From The Everything Mother's First Year Book Copyright © 2005, F+W Publications, Inc. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications Company. All rights reserved.

To order this book go to Amazon.


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