When Otis was little I loved lists like this. Not because I felt like I needed to do all of the activities suggested, but because it gave me some simple ideas to try at home. I hope you find this list just as useful. This is a no pressure list, you might find it more suitable for your child at two months or three or four months. The age is a guide only, work at your child's pace and always meet them where they are at. Here are ten things you can do at home with your Montessori baby at two months.
- Mobiles. Continue to use a mobile. At two months you may want to move away from using the high contrast black and white mobiles and introduce mobiles with colour and depth such as the Octahedron or Gobbi mobiles. Towards the third month look for signs your child is batting at the mobiles. If they are batting, you may want to prepare some tactile mobiles such as a bell or ring on a ribbon. Change the mobiles to meet your infant's changing visual needs and to keep their interest.
- Wall Mirror. Continue to use a mirror for observation. A mirror and playmat really help to promote movement and soon coordinated movement, concentration and visual tracking.
- Free Play. Provide lots of periods of free, uninterrupted play. Allow the child time and space, give them the freedom as much as possible to be in control of their own environment. Perhaps try some nappy free time, I've found this to be a good way to promote movement (use a sheet protector, towel or puddle pad for protection). Free play promotes concentration and helps strengthen attention spans. It also shows the child respect, we respect you enough to give you your own space and time where we are not going to dictate what you are going to do, we trust you and we believe in you. Most often we do this in the movement area on a playmat.
- Playgym. Provide a playgym with hanging toys, a bell or a grasping ring. Towards the end of two months, Otto loves nothing better than batting at (and spinning) his woven ball (with a bell).
- Tummy Time. Try some tummy time. Both our paediatrician and paediatric physiotherapist recommend it as does every Montessori guide and teacher I've spoken to about it. Tummy time provides an opportunity to strengthen back and neck muscles and to see the world in a different position. Otto loves tummy time and we follow his lead, at around nine weeks he could roll independently from his tummy onto his back, so it's a position he can now get out of. During tummy time we aim to have his legs (knees and feet) free from clothing so he can grip his toes into the mat and push himself. We do tummy time in front of a mirror, in the movement area, with a sibling, outdoors on a playmat, almost anywhere. During this period the child may be able to lift their head up and look around the room, they can't do this lying on their back.
- Grasping. Prepare materials for grasping such as some small beads or a bell rattle. Look around your craft store as you may be able to make something suitable, if not Etsy has lots of good Montessori materials. If your child isn't ready for grasping materials now, it's likely they will be soon. At this age, the grasp is most likely a reflex but offering grasping materials may help this develop into a controlled movement.
- Infant Massage. Try infant massage. For some children, this can be incredibly soothing and calming and can be a bonding experience. For our family infant massage is a good way for us to slow down with our infant, to take a few deep breaths and make slow and deliberate movements. It calms me as much as it does my child! Observe your child to see how they respond. Use an infant massage oil or simple olive or almond oil. There is lots of information about the importance of touch, it's worth thinking about. With the help of our physio we've also learnt to do some body mapping and this has been invaluable. Infant massage can also assist the child with body awareness.
- Follow Cues. This is so important in the Montessori philosophy. Continue to learn and follow the child's cues. Observe the infant, slow down, find peace. We have continued to maintain contact with the maternal points of reference and allowed Otto to feed on demand and sleep following his own natural rhythm. With each child I find I am able to pick up on their cues better, it can take time and patience.
- Talking. Try talking to your infant emulating their sounds. I didn't try this with my other children but we are having a lot of success with Otto. Like in this video. Otto is very vocal and I believe it's because we are responding to him and most importantly when we talk to him, we are giving him the time and opportunity to respond!! Many infants can't get a word in when their parents are talking to them, to pause is important. We are loving hearing his little voice, it brings so much joy.
- Include Them. There is a focus in Montessori on including infants in everyday life. At two months the infant is not mobile so we generally do this by using a movable playmat or lambswool around the house. We allow the infant to be near and a part of the family's activities, for example lying or playing next to siblings. I find a baby carrier a great way to do this when out of the house, the infant is still close but can also see your mouth and observe your interactions.
Want a few more ideas?
- Water Play. The bath is a great place for this, I have found infants around this age love splashing, especially their feet. It's a good way to cool down on a summer's day too.
- Read. Books can introduce rhyme and rhythm, it can also be a lovely way to slow down and spend some time together.
- Sing, Dance, Move. There is no doubt that children love to hear their parents voices and singing is a way to communicate and it can help soothe the infant too. Infants may like movement and feeling the beat while dancing, observe and follow their cues.
- Go Outside. Grab a playmat or blanket and put it outside in the shade. Lie there and just be, enjoy the outdoors with your little one!
- Allow for concentration. Children can't concentrate unless we allow them. Some parents are just so busy there is no time for the child to concentrate on anything. If during free play, under a mobile or playgym or while using the wall mirror, the child is concentrating, do your best not to interrupt them. Avoid always using the television or playing music around the infant.
This is the period when the child is coming out of the Symbiotic Period. I have noticed Otto:
- sleeping for longer periods at night (he usually has at least one six-hour stretch and sometimes up to eight hours). There is a clear difference between his sleep during the day and night.
- being more observant, looking around.
- bringing his hands together.
- looking at his hands, rotating his wrists, opening and closing his hands and fingers.
- beginning to reach but still unable to pick up items, he will move or push items around.
- having lots of success batting at toys on his playgym (towards the end of two months).
- babbling and a lot of reciprocal talking.
- having longer and longer periods of happy tummy time.
- slithering forwards during tummy time.
- finding a rhythm, he is generally sleeping at the same times and needing nappy changes at the same time of day.
You might also find useful Ten Things To Do With Your Montessori Newborn. Please feel free to add to this list if there is something I have missed, it might just help another parent! I am hoping to write one of these lists every month, while Otto is in that period, it's difficult to write them any other way, these are all activities we are doing and enjoying today! You can read my articles from when Otis was two months old here.