Children love playing in the park – throwing themselves down slides, climbing on monkey bars and just generally being out in the open. Of course, as parents it is only natural to worry about as to when we should introduce the little ones to playgrounds, with the potential for a lot of rough and tumble.
It goes without saying that babies have to be watched like a hawk, and you have to be there with them every step of the way. They aren’t going to be climbing and sliding, but they can be enjoying the swings and crawling (as long as it is safe to do so).
When Baby Can Hold Their Head Up
A good rule of thumb for when it is safe to take the baby to the park is when they are able to hold their head up on their own. Usually, babies begin holding up their heads on their own at four months, becoming stable at around six months of age.
Some babies are slower or faster than others in terms of physical development, so if your baby gets to six months old and is still struggling to hold their head up, it will be best not to risk the swings. When they can, consider taking an extra blanket with them to help pad out the seat of the swing as this can be somewhat big for a young baby.
It is never too early to begin socialising your children, and is encouraged as soon as possible. Babies are social creatures from the moment that they are born, believe it or not, mimicking movements and gestures from as early as one month of age. At a playground park, they are interacting with other children their age which helps them to get used to socialising with others.
Encouraging and pushing children to socialise before they begin school will only help to make educational life that much easier. It also isn’t uncommon for find playground equipment in schools that is similar to that in local parks, only helping to normalise the environment in which your child will one day be headed.
Keeping Baby Safe
It goes without saying that you won’t be able to take a six-month-old baby to a park and leave them be as you watch on from a distance. They are not yet independent and will need a parent or guardian with them in case of any potential hazards.
Children can become very boisterous in playgrounds, with lots going on all around them. Swings, slides and other apparatus can be very painful if one gets in the way and, at such a delicate age, risks causing potentially serious injury.
Baby can be placed on the swing, especially if there is a seat specifically designed for babies, and gently pushed. Pad out the seat as much as possible/is necessary to ensure your baby is safely seated. If the park is relatively quiet, you can watch over your baby crawling around – some parks have apparatus that are designed to be crawled under, so this could make for a fun game!
Parents Know Best
While there is an infinite amount of guides on when is best to do this and that with your child, at the end of the day it is you as the child’s parent that knows best. No one knows your child better than you do, so make the call when you feel it is right and appropriate.