Sensational first Christmas

Baby’s first Christmas? Keep the celebrations stress-free with these top tips by DR LIN DAY, founder of Baby Sensory.

Christmas is a special time of year for parents and an even more magical one for babies. 

The Christmas tree, presents, shiny decorations, colourful lights, smells, tastes and sounds all make Christmas Day a complete sensory delight.

Unfortunately, the celebrations can be both exhausting and stressful, so keep in mind that your baby still needs your love and warmth and the security of a familiar routine. It is also worth considering the safety aspects of anything that can be harmful. Here are ten top tips to ensure that your baby enjoys the festivities: 

1. Cuddles – To ensure your baby doesn’t become too overwhelmed, limit guests to family and close friends. If they want to hold or play with your baby, keep the changeovers to a minimum and make sure that you are available for a cuddle when needed. Nothing is more important to your baby’s emotional wellbeing than your reassuring presence.

2. Routine – Make your baby’s first Christmas as enjoyable as possible by keeping his or her routine the same. Too much change can raise your baby’s stress levels.

3. Comforter – Christmas Day provides a wealth of sensory stimulation for your baby, but look out for signs of over stimulation and tiredness. A favourite blanket or toy can provide the emotional comfort and security that your baby needs, but stay close by to provide a reassuring touch.

4. Toys – Age-and-stage-appropriate toys such as black and white objects, or bright, colourful toys and mobiles that make soft, gentle sounds will stimulate the interest of a newborn or very young baby.

5. Books – Books are one of the best toys for babies. Books that contain textured or sparkly materials, large, brightly coloured pictures and hide-and-seek surprises that encourage interaction with a familiar adult make great presents.

6. Creative presents – A treasure basket containing interesting objects or a box filled with paper or fabric offer endless learning possibilities. However, safety is an important consideration. Tags that have sharp edges, or long ribbons
and homemade creations that contain small parts, can present
a serious hazard.

7. Games – Playing with relatives and friends can be very enriching for your baby on Christmas Day. For example, they can show your baby how a new toy works or get involved in turn-taking activities such as rolling a ball back and forth. This all spells love and warmth and shows your baby that he or she is fun to be with.

8. Smells – Pine needles, scented potpourri, cinnamon, herbs and Christmas cooking smells offer your baby a multi-sensory experience and may be associated with fond memories in years to come. Good smells can enhance your baby’s mood and behaviour, and your baby’s facial expressions should indicate which odours are preferred.

9. Decorations – Babies are very attracted to coloured lights and shiny decorations. All these visual delights will stimulate your baby’s senses and accelerate learning. Your baby will love the shiny decorations, but make sure that they are shatterproof and do not present a choking hazard.

10. At the end of a busy day, Christmas carols and songs bring warmth to the day and set the tone for a relaxed and inviting atmosphere. Music is one of most beneficial learning resources for your baby and its effect on intellectual development is far-reaching. This is the best way to ensure the end of a wonderful Christmas Day.