The Power of Scaffolding

Month 15
Month 16
Month 17

Last Month's Wow:

Peak Stranger Danger and New Sleep Disturbances

As major milestones, like talking and walking fuel greater independence, you may notice new disturbances in sleep, separation anxieties, and stranger danger.

The Wow of Now:

The Power of Scaffolding

Your body language speaks louder than your words. How you respond to danger and challenges feeds or detracts from baby's confidence. When you can, replace “NO!” with “Careful” and save “NO!” for the truly life-threatening stuff.

The Wow Ahead:

Playing Pretend + Solo Play

Taking-turns games naturally flow into a deeper level of play—a whole landscape of imagination—with and without toys.

The Wow

Scaffolding is a term used to define ways of actively supporting and encouraging your tot's development. It allows your tot to achieve a task or solve a problem that’s currently just outside of their abilities. It’s a collaborative process where an adult joins in their tot’s play in order to add a layer of learning to something baby already knows. Offering “just enough” support at “just the right time” can help build a bridge from baby’s existing knowledge to new, lasting knowledge.

The How

  1. 1

    Back and Forth

    Routine: Play Time
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    Connecting via the ball is building attention and focus—and your relationship to each other. When they’ve gotten the hang of rolling the back back and forth, try rolling it to their left side and then right side. Baby will need to rotate their trunk to reach the ball, strengthening their support and balance muscles in the process. Try adding a song while you roll or using different sized balls. Included with Our Laundry Concentrate System are three gentle wool dryer balls that are perfect for this. As you learn to work together to make the game a success, you’ll deepen your connection and communication. 


    Rolling a ball to your baby and having them roll it back is like having a non-verbal conversation. It encourages connection through the invisible bond of “You go, I go” and goes a long way toward deepening language, attention, and empathy. And no worries if it doesn’t go smoothly at first—this connection is a work in progress.

  2. 2

    One Step at a Time

    Routine: Play Time
     of 2

    Think of any task as a series of small steps. Baby won’t know all of them (yet) and may need help before a connection is made. Rather than jumping to the end result, try step-by-step hints, suggestions, and demonstrations to nudge baby along (build the scaffolding!). Start by noticing and observing baby’s play. Then try a verbal suggestion like, “Maybe you can put the red block on top,” and wait to see how they respond. If baby appears frustrated, offer support and consider modeling how to accomplish the next step; then let baby try to imitate the move and try again on their own.


    Continuing to help sparingly while staying active in the play gives baby space to make their own mistakes and learn that it’s alright to make them (and how to fix them). Offering baby support and encouragement gives them the confidence they need to continue trying. Don’t finish the task for them and mark all progress as an important accomplishment. For example, “You got two pieces today and tomorrow we can try more! You must feel so proud.”

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    Mighty Tidy

    Routine: Play Time
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    After you are done playing, turn clean up into a treasure hunt game. Ask your tot to find the toys and place them in a basket, either one you set aside for this purpose or back where they belong. As your tot picks up each toy, narrate what you see them doing and engage with them by asking questions. Make this routine something your child enjoys.


    Tidying up is an important routine to establish with your little one. An organized space allows for organized play, which promotes an organized brain. In addition, by encouraging your child to clean up after themselves, you are helping them gain a sense of responsibility and respect for their belongings.

Support for You

For many of us, the world has gotten more and more distracting. We are on our phones, working, cooking and cleaning at the same time. For years to come, though, baby will need us to try and find quality time to play. You can start that now with just 10 minutes of floor play a day. Over time, it may become something you can do for hours, or at least something you can support baby to do for hours. You’ll find the right places to interject and enhance their play – the time to sing, or laugh, or narrate what they are doing – and the time to watch and back off. Either way, you’ll come to love play – maybe like you did when you were young – and more importantly to help baby learn how important play is in their own lives and development.

Let's Check on the Basics

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Is baby eating?
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Is baby sleeping?
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Is baby pooping?

Yes on all three? Great! One or more No’s? Let’s talk about it.
Contact us for support resources!

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