With some parents taking ridiculous measures to protect their young children and others saying that we should be letting our children eat dirt and play out in the street like the ‘good old days’, the Russians seem to have taken liberal parenting to a whole new extreme. Russian psychotherapist Oleg Tyutin has been teaching new parents the practice of ‘Baby Gymnastics’. With Russia ranking third in the 2008 Olympics, could they be gunning for gold by starting training early for their future stretchy superstars?
Rather than wrapping their babies up in cotton wool, some Russian parents are allowing their squidgy, fragile offspring to be tossed, bent, stretched and spun about in an attempt to mould them into better people. The practice includes holding your baby upside down and swinging it to and fro, holding it by one foot and spinning it around in a circle, and even imitating the old school ‘cup and ball’ game, by swinging the child through your legs into the air and (hopefully) catching it again. Is it just me or does this seem less like ‘gymnastics for babies’ and more like a new sport for the parents – ‘Baby Tossing?’
Tyutin claims that this practice pushes children to become more spatially aware and yeah, fair enough – having the ground rush towards your face at a high speed eight times a day could definitely teach you a thing or two about not falling over in future.
If I have children one day I will try this technique myself, or if anyone is willing to lend me a baby I will test it out and get back to you.