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Saturday, February 26, 2022

Floor Time and Montessori Newborns

It's incredible that newborns are just amazing little people right from birth. It's hard to believe but from the moment they are born, they have the power to develop themselves into the adult humans they were meant to become. This work happens from birth, but doesn't always look the way we assume it does. Remember, the most important work of the newborn is to be adjust to their environment and integrate into their family. And, that's exactly what Penelope has been spending the majority of her days doing. 


At 3-weeks old, she still is spending the bulk of her days slowly learning to be in the world, establishing new points of reference, and getting to know just how much we love her. But, we are intentionally introducing something else to Penelope's days - floor time. This is the time of day that Penelope is placed on the floor to move freely, and enjoy her surroundings. This is when we are giving her an opportunity to look at a mirror, to look at her Montessori mobiles, or other high contrast images. 

Incorporating Floor Time From Birth


Sometimes when looking at blog posts or social media, it can seem like Penelope is on the floor all the time, or for huge parts of her day. This just really isn't true. We have no specific aim for how much time Penelope is on the floor during the day. Instead, we just intentionally offer this time to Penelope when her other needs have been met. 


In RIE we call this wants-nothing or needs-nothing time. This is the time of day when all of your baby's other needs have been met. So floor time happens when your baby has a fresh diaper, is fed, doesn't need a bath or has gas. If their needs are met and they are calm, that's a good time to try placing them on the floor. 

For Penelope, the last couple of weeks she has this wants-nothing time a few times a day usually following a longer nap and feed. But, it's lasting 5 to 10 minutes most of the time. A few times she has gone longer but mostly not. After those few minutes, she might be ready to nurse again, fall asleep, need a diaper, whatever. The priority is always to meet her needs, not force time on the floor. 


Why Is Floor Time Important for Babies


There are two main reasons we really value floor time, even for newborns. One, floor time is the perfect opportunity for babies to have freedom of movement. It's through this movement that babies grow and develop. They need this movement to integrate their reflexes, to learn about their body and to explore their world. 


Two, this time on the floor is the initial building block to independent play as they get older. By offering Penelope opportunities to play independently from birth, it just slowly becomes part of her routine. Over time the amount of time that she is able to tolerate time on the floor will grow and grow. She will become confident in her ability to explore her environment and her body. 

There is no specific floor time amount that you need to get. The amount of independent play time that a newborn can tolerate will vary a lot depending on a lot of factors including a child's temperament, mood, medical needs, and natural rhythm. We, as the prepared adult, need to observe our own children to determine when and how much they need. Even Penelope's needs will change and adapt over time. Following our own child will help make this a relaxing, and enjoyable experience for you and for your baby.

This post is week 3 of my weekly Montessori Baby series focusing on Penelope! 

Floor time is very important for all Montessori babies, even newborns. Here is some ways to start floor time, when to do it and why it's important.

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Would you like to comment?

AM said...

Penelope is lovely! We have done the same with our daughter since birth and she is now able to play independently for long periods of time (at least 1 hr this morning @20 months and still going strong). Your post brings back sweet memories of the newborn stage. Just as she is integrating into the family, the family is falling in love with her and getting to know her!