Raise your hand if you're a sucker for all the toys marketed to parents of infants. Yeah, me too.

If you've got a baby, you've probably got stuff. Lots of it. Carriers, seats, music machines, push toys, pull toys, toys that light up, talk back, and roll away. As parents, we have thousands of electronic gadgets and colorful products to choose from on our quest to help babies move, roll over, sit up, show interest, look, see, and talk.

Dr. Anne Zachry was also a sucker. But after three children, and a realization that her children had more fun with the box her children's toys came in, she retreated from the toy store and got back to the basics.

Her new parenting book, the latest from the American Academy of Pediatrics, helps moms and dads reject the overuse of too many toys and take a step back.

Retro Baby: Cut Back on All the Gear and Boost Your Baby's Development With More Than 100 Time-tested Activities is a simple, fun resource for moms and dads who could really use a back-to-basics approach with babies.

And it lets parents off the very expensive, often unnecessary hook of feeling like they have to stock the playroom with fancy products.

Dr. Zachry, who has served has one of Parenting Squad's ProSquad experts, brings 20 years of experience and whole bunch of research to parents with her book. She takes families from birth to 24 months of age, explaining the importance of development along the way.

She includes helpful information on:

  • Tummy time
  • Vision development
  • Setting a solid foundation for a natural course of development
  • The importance of talking to your baby for language development
  • Hand plays and rhymes and how they help infants and young children
  • The importance of your baby's interaction with you — and other people
  • Motor development and activities
  • Feeding and safety issues
  • Building a solid sensory-motor foundation


Dr. Zachry is able to explain medical terminology in easy-to-understand language, and helps the reader make the important connection to the kinds of every day activities that are appropriate for infants. She also offers flexible suggestions and strategies for parents, allowing families in different situations to help meet the developmental needs of their babies — without all that stuff.

Anne H. Zachry, PhD, OTR/L is a pediatric occupational therapist, child development specialist, and assistant professor of occupational therapy at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Her research on this subject has been published in national peer-reviewed journals and her profession's trade magazines as well as a number of parenting magazines. Her blog, Pediatric Occupational Therapy Tips averages 50,000 hits monthly.

I received a free copy of Retro Baby. As an educator and early childhood specialist, I am thrilled to recommend this book to parents and families.