4 ways to keep your baby distracted

Baby is capable of making quite a lot of fuss for such a tiny person, and there are times – like, say, when you’re standing in line at the bank, or when you’re trying to make dinner, or at a really unfortunate moment during a wedding ceremony – when the kind of noise she can work themselves up to just won’t fly. Whether you’ve tried all of the usual culprits – hunger, dirty diaper, gas – and still aren’t sure what the problem is or you already know Baby is a little too hot, or angling for a snack, or really not in the mood to get any more booster shots, but there just isn’t anything you can do about it at the moment, sometimes distracting her is the best way to avoid disaster.

  1. Baby’s favorite new toy, the salad spinner!
    Sometimes the best way to convince Baby to settle down long enough for you to do whatever you need to, from popping something to eat into the microwave to changing her diaper, is to offer a little harmless bribery in the form of a new toy. This doesn’t mean you need to clean out Toys ‘R Us for a neverending stream of new playthings, though – you may have noticed by now that the things Baby is the most interested in are not for her at all. Offering her the chance to get her hands on her very own mixing spoon, say, or maybe your glasses case, or any other choking-hazard-free and non-toxic household item may buy you enough minutes of quiet distraction to do what you need to.
  2. The same old song and dance
    Baby loves to move around, and she loves the sound of your voice. Bouncing her around can be a great way to soothe Baby, and so can music, so putting the two together is an automatic double-whammy. Sometimes you might not be in the right setting to take her on a nice, calming little waltz, though – behind the wheel of your the car, for example, would be a pretty inconvenient place to try that one out. That doesn’t mean you can’t sing Baby a song while you’re in transit, though. Something with silly words or sound effects is always good, and as Baby grows older, she will probably pick out some favorites. As she starts recognizing her name, adding it into the lyrics of the song can be a great way to draw her attention.
  3. Life’s a game
    Making your errands and household activities into games is a technique that you’ll probably have an easier time with as Baby grows older, but it’s never too early to start. Just having your voice and focus on her as you explain that the pavement of the road is lava and you have to only step on the painted lines of the crosswalk can be enough to shift her focus away from her impending meltdown, especially if clearing the sections of the road that are lava involves hopping between the painted lines, say, or comes with a rhyming chant.
    On the other hand, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel – Baby isn’t judging you on your originality, and old favorites like peek-a-boo can go a long way towards establishing some peace, too.
  4. Be flexible
    Baby is growing and changing every day, and it only makes sense that her moods will grow with her, so the distraction technique that worked yesterday may do nothing for Baby today, and be her favorite thing again by tomorrow – it’s impossible to say.
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