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Why is it important to let your baby struggle?

By responding to their cries, comforting our babies and talking to them, we teach them they can feel safe and secure and, therein, develop self-confidence. But every so often, parents need to take a step back and allow their babies to feel a little frustrated as they struggle to complete a task. And trust us, frustrations are inevitable as babies strive to learn new skills. 

Through years of research and experience, the MonkiBox team found that the object permanence box is an ideal tool to teach your baby that a bit of frustration is a good thing. The object permanence box is easy enough to engage with, but it does require hand-eye coordination and concentration - things a typical seven-month-old is still developing.

Playing with a toy or doing an activity your baby finds hard to figure out is one of the top 3 reasons why babies experience frustration (along with being unable to communicate their needs and feeling hungry or tired). But directing his frustration to a task he will be able to complete will teach your baby grit and resilience from a young age, and true self-confidence comes from mastering difficult things.

Here is how you can introduce the object permanence box and positively address the signs of frustration:

When introducing the object permanence box to your baby, slowly describe the parts before showing him how to use them. A lot of frustration stems from not having good instructions or a clear way forward.

As you point to the parts, say, “This is the box. This is the ball. The ball goes into the box, like this.”

Move your hands slowly so your baby will stay focused on the ball as you move to the opening and drop it in. Clap your hands excitedly and be surprised when the ball rolls out the other end.

Place the ball in your baby’s hand and guide his hand over the hole before helping him release his grasp and drop the ball into the hole. 

Show your baby the ball will roll out each time he drops it.

Now that your baby understands the objective and the steps required to achieve it, allow him to try it independently. Notice if your baby bangs the ball on the box or attempts to throw the ball when he doesn’t get it in. Depending on your baby’s temperament, he might even cry when feeling frustrated. 

Gently help him reset the activity and try again. You can try a phrase like “I can see you’re feeling upset, and that’s okay, but let’s try one more time”. If your baby still feels upset after a second attempt, pack away the box and try another day.

Just because the object permanence box is suitable for babies seven months and older doesn’t mean every baby will be ready to engage with it. Have some patience and learn with your baby when he is ready to tackle new challenges. You might be surprised how quickly he becomes the master!

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