Skip to main content

When Your Baby Concentrates -- Montessori Baby Week 18

There's a tendency to assume that small children - especially babies - are incapable of concentration. We can see that just by looking at the products that mainstream toy companies make and people buy for babies. They have lights, sounds, and artificial movement to the extreme. They are literally designed to distract and entertain a baby as if a baby is unable to entertain him/herself. But the truth is that baby's (and all young children) are able to deeply concentrate. And, they know how from birth. 

What to Look For? 

A concentrating baby can look a lot of different ways. A concentrating baby may be still, or they might move a whole lot! I always look for a baby that is focused on whatever they are doing. So that focus might come from trying to pull up, roll over or reach something new. Or that focus might come from deeply staring at a mobile floating above them. Basically, don't be fooled by movement. 

A recent example comes from these pictures with Theodore this week. I introduced a new tactile mobile (this DIY rainbow ribbon mobile) and he was very excited. VERY! There were squeals of joy, there was leg kicking, arm waving, grasping, rolling, MOVEMENT. But he was in the zone. His body was relaxed, focused, and joyful. I could tell he was connecting with the material in a really beautiful way. He used this mobile for 40 minutes before all went silent. 


By this point I was playing with the older kids in our playroom. I looked over to find him rolled over on to his belly staring quietly at himself in the mirror. This was the still concentration. The unmoving, slow blinking, deep in thought moments. This lasted for several minutes, until we needed to leave for an appointment and I had to grab him.

What should I do? 

My initial reaction when I see my baby concentrating is to jump right in and join the fun! I want to talk to him about what he sees, what he's doing, and explore myself. But, by doing this I become center-stage. I become the distraction from what he has chosen to concentrate on. Instead, I focus on a few things: 

  • Observation - this is the perfect time to quietly observe your baby's interests, skills, and needs
  • Wonder - I can still wonder with my child, but quietly on my own
  • Protect and Respect - I can protect him from distractions (like siblings) or other noises/movement that might break his concentration. Now, this can't always happen, but I can make an effort when I'm available to protect the work of the concentrating child. 
  • Time - I can hold space for him, giving him time to concentrate. If I notice him concentrating, how can I make time for that to happen? I can give him a few more seconds, or minutes, even if it wasn't in my plan.
  • Acceptance - I can also accept whatever amount of concentration that he has, I don't need to compare him to others, and know that he is doing what he needs to do. 
Have you noticed intense concentration in your baby? How does that look for them? 

A look at baby concentration, what it looks like and what you should do when it happens

---

Comments

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2021

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure! 2021 UPDATE: Please be patient with links this year, with supply chain issues things are selling out faster and restocking slower. I anticipate some of the specialty toys will not restock once they are gone. Puzzles, in particular, have been difficult to find in stock. So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created toys, bu

Montessori Toddler: Favorite Toys and Activities 18 to 20 months

I've been putting off this post for a little while because I felt a little disappointed that I didn't have more to share. See, Teddy just isn't that into materials, especially those on the shelf. He tends to return to a couple of favorites over and over again and ignore all other attempts at shelf work. But, really that's my own adult feelings getting in the way of Teddy's own interests, and developmental path.  It's also me subconsciously valuing fine motor skills and stillness as more important than gross motor play and movement. I working hard not to do that, and want to normalize that all toddlers are different. All children have different interests and that concentration doesn't have to mean sitting still for long stretches of time.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. With all that said, here are some of Teddy's favorites over the last couple of months. Favorite Montessori Toys 18 to 20 Months I'm listing the toys that have be

Our Family's Montessori Christmas Gift Lists 2021

It's hard to believe another holiday season is upon us again. Every year I enjoy putting together my kids' Christmas gift lists. It's really a good time to observe them, see what they are interested in and what they might be ready for during this coming year. It's one of the few times a year that I purchase new materials for our home so it's always really exciting. IF YOU NEED MORE IDEAS DON'T MISS MY ULTIMATE MONTESSORI TOY LIST OR MY 2021 DEALS PAGE ! When considering these lists, please remember that these were curated based on my own children. Use them for inspiration but they are heavily influenced by what my children are into and interested in. And for my older second plane children, what they have asked for!  Here's a look at our family's Montessori Christmas lists for 2021!  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Theodore (Toddler) Teddy is just over 2-years-old. Being our fourth baby, he is really hard for me to think of unique