Maintain a Routine
When your baby girl was only a few weeks old, you entertained her with your conversation and song, but it was primarily a one-sided process. Now that she is able to make sounds such as da-da and ma-ma, you want to capitalize on her newly learned early speech capabilities and encourage them as best you can.
One quick way to do that is incorporate books into her life. That works best if you do the following:
Set a regular time aside for reading to her. This time may be right before her nap or before she goes to bed at night.
Have books on hand that are geared to her age. Your neighborhood bookstore or public library has a list of the best books for babies and small children.
Read the same book over and over to her, allowing her to point to the duck or the kitten as you read about them, so that before long she can “read” the story back to you.
As far as music, you probably have already found out that your little girl likes certain CDs played at a low volume as her favorite lul-labies. Now is the time to get a songbook and sing your childhood favorites with her. Have her sit on your lap and sing to your heart's content.
To your baby's ears, your voice will sound better than the most acclaimed singer in the world. Again, start with an easy song or a well-known rhyming ditty. Before too long, your baby will clap along, bounce on your lap, or hum along with you. What makes the reading and singing habit especially beneficial for your little daughter is that even if your — and her — day gets crazy, the established routine will show her all is well anyway. Babies, as much as they tend to make us overturn our regular schedules, thrive on the sameness of something they enjoy.
Be sure to have on hand books to enjoy with your baby, including a collection of nursery rhymes with big pictures, a baby book of lullabies with pictures, and a book of settle-down activities. Add to the collection as much as you can by buying smaller books your child can hold in her own hands.
When you have to change your days because you are going back to work, the customary twenty minutes with you or the other caregiver that is devoted to books and/or music is like a handrail for your little girl. With it she can move ahead in her development, knowing that you can be relied on at all times.
Fun Time as a Routine
Even when a parent is a full-time parent, unavoidable changes can occur in the household, such as a relative coming to live with the family, a parent going on a business trip, or a move to a bigger apartment. Your little girl will weather these changes much better if her fun times with you stay exactly the same, and you will feel content that while the surroundings or circumstances of your family are in flux, her world's foundation remains solidly in place.