Book Review: Your Child at Play: Birth to One Year by Marilyn Segal

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015 at 9:44 am

Your Child at Play gives the basics of what to expect from your child developmentally as well as a variety of activites you can do with your child for each month of the first year. It includes hundreds of photos of babies and parents engaging in the suggested activities. It’s simply packed with ideas.

Published in 1998, it’s also super-outdated. The author recommends not a few activities and toys that are no longer recommended because of safety concerns.

I thought it was great. I collected dozens of activities from among the hundreds included and have used them with Tirzah Mae.

That said, I’m not sure whether other moms would find this helpful. My observation has been that many moms feel insecure in their ability to wade through the waters of “developmental appropriateness” and “child safety” and choose one of two ways of dealing with that. Either they choose an expert that they trust implicitly and follow everything that expert says to the T (Babywise or Dr. Sears devotees, anyone?) or they are just simply terrified of everything and parent by taboos (I can’t let my child out of my sight, my child should never encounter a string or ribbon, I can’t let my baby roll onto her tummy in her sleep, etc.)

This book would not be helpful to either type of parents. The terrified-of-everything parents will become terrified quickly and have nightmares of all the terrible things that could happen to parents who try stuff from this book. And the expert-trusting parents will have to endure the censure of terrified parents – and may put their child at risk if they leave him unsupervised to play with the toys made on the books recommendation (or to engage in the activities the book suggests.) On the other hand, it’s highly unlikely that a child could be hurt while engaging in these activities under supervision.

So, should you read this book?

Judge for yourself. Are you looking for ideas for activities to do with your infant? Do you have the time and energy to be discerning about which activities to try? Do you have easy access to this book via a library or can you find it cheaply at a used store? Then go for it.

If not, may I recommend Retro Baby by Anne Zachry? It’s got a lot of similar activity ideas, but is more up-to-date as far as safety recommendations go.

Rating: 3 stars
Category: Infant Play activities
Synopsis: A month-by-month listing of activities you can do with your baby in his first year of life
Recommendation: Lots of nice suggestions, but safety recommendations have changed since this is written, so parents will have to be discerning.

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