Book sharing provides a rich (multi-sensory) learning experience for a baby, and it’s a way for them to spend quality time with mum and dad.
A family photo book has the added opportunity of helping baby link with pictures of familiar people and things. In the SKIP Whakatipu booklet Te Pihinga 2 (page 7), we can see that the little photo book could be the beginning of helping baby learn about their wider whānau and where they belong.
Familiarity and ‘permanence’
Familiar pictures are especially valuable during this stage, when a baby is developing ‘object’ and ‘person’‘permanence’. This is when they understand that something (or someone) still exists when they can’t be seen.
With this new stage of development, baby’s brain can now create an internal picture of something that they can’t see anymore.
Person permanence is linked to the attachment relationship that’s formed between baby and their primary caregiver, and who is central to their safety and security. They may become upset when this important person leaves their sight.
Ask the whānau:
- Have you noticed baby getting upset if you [or the primary caregiver] leaves the room?
Sometimes parents might think baby has become ‘sooky’ or ‘clingy’, and see this development negatively. Instead, help them celebrate the secure attachment they’ve formed with their baby.
Preparing for separation anxiety
Talk about the appointments or engagements coming up that will involve baby being around strangers — for example, a visit to the doctor.
Also, help mum and dad think about those times that might require them to be separated from baby for a short period — for example, for a job interview or a medical examination.
- What could you do to avoid baby getting too stressed in your absence?
Making a photo book
Whānau may have photos stored on mobile phones or on social media sites that they could use to make a family photo book.
Baby will likely want to explore the photos ‘fully’ (with hands, eyes and mouth). So it’s probably best for them to have their own book — rather than dad or mum’s phone.
- Have you shown family photos to baby?
- Have they seen them on a device or in an album?
Suggest that if they don’t have any family photos then they could use magazine pictures of familiar things, pets, toys, vehicles or places. They only need a few pictures to start with, and can add to them as time goes on.
Little inexpensive ‘brag books’ can work for this activity, especially if photos are used, as it lets baby explore them without ripping or ruining them.
Several plastic zip lock bags taped together with pictures stuck on card and slipped inside can also work well — this way the photos can be mouthed without baby damaging them.
Enjoy the book together
Encourage whānau to sit together with baby and share these books often — they’ll soon become one of baby’s favourites.
- to think about who’s in the photos
- where are the photos taken?
- who does baby know in the photos?
- what would you like baby to know about these people, places or things?
- what happens if you point to someone they know and say their name?
How does this topic relate to the SKIP resources?
Baby Wall Frieze – Teach me about our family - Kōrero mai mō tātou whānau
Six things children need -Te kōrero me te whakarongo - talking and listening