“Go into the Kitchen and take a peek…” This is a fun circle dance in class. I love it when all the babies are held up in the center of the circle to look at each other. They are fully entranced by this social opportunity, and are gaining a real sense of togetherness each time it happens. This type of social development at this age helps them feel like “I’m not alone in this world, there are other small people like me!” I love watching them share and trade instruments and objects we explore in class – the looks they give each other when they make a connection, and even hugs from some of the older ones.
This week, we even went a step further in class, by introducing the idea of using this song at home as a way to take your baby on a tour around your home. I know many of you were thinking, “We’re here all the time, why do I need to give my baby a TOUR?” It simply mentions it on your home activity page for this week, but the musical TOUR can do a lot of things for your baby.
First of all, although you are in each room, you are typically involved in and focused on a particular activity, and are not necessarily focused on the room itself. Taking a tour when the house is still gives your baby a chance to see each room for what it is without any expectations, to learn about words that are associated with that room, and to feel the stillness and comfort that come from each room of your house.
Come to a door, or doorway and “peek” in. “Go into the bedroom and take a peek…” then play peek a boo a few times, stepping back then peeking in again. “This is where we dress and sleep…” Finish the song with a few more peeks, then swing the baby into the room “This is where we swing our sweet.” You can make this into a loving ritual by adding, “And YOU are MY sweet baby!” while looking them directly in the eyes, and giving them lots of kisses. Your baby is now ready to listen as you talk about the room, giving them lots of words as you point to objects and colors around the room, and giving them the rhythm and inflection of language as you talk about what can happen in this room. It doesn’t have to take very long in each room. “Walk all around…” to the next room “…and STOP” right in front of another door, and start all over. It is fun to do it once, but if you take the tour a few times a week for several weeks, your baby will be bathing in your individual attention, your loving ritual, and your rich language, as they develop a true comfort zone in their own home.
When you need to develop a comfort zone in a new place, such as Grandma’s house, or a hotel room, you can use this song again with these new spaces, to help them learn that it is safe to be here as well. Isn’t it wonderful how it all blends together for the benefit of both of you!