You probably spent weeks making sure that you had the right car seat, the best stroller, the appropriate clothes and nursery for your child. It takes time and effort to make informed decisions about parenting and about our child’s environment. Today, I would like to ask you to consider an aspect of your child’s environment that you may not have thought about. What is your child’s “sonic environment?” What sounds are they surrounded by? How safe are their toys? Is your home helping your child to fully develop their senses or is it handicapping them before they have even begun?
If you have never stopped to think about this, you are not alone. As adults we have developed filters as coping mechanisms against loud or overwhelming sounds. We can cope with music or television being on “in the background” because, for us, there is a “background.” Not so with our babies and small children. They pay attention to everything and it is either aiding their development or overwhelming them. This is one of the reasons babies and small children need to sleep so much. They are processing their world and if they are overwhelmed, the only defense they have is to turn off.
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Even more concerning is the fact that consistent exposure to noisy toys with a noise level over 85 decibels can cause deafness in children. Babies and toddlers have shorter arms so they bring these toys closer to their ears than we would. Their ear canals are still developing and are narrower than ours which causes noises to echo more loudly. If a toy is too loud for you to tolerate, it is deafening to your child.
So what can you do? How can you ensure a “sound” environment for your child? Here is how.