How Do You Play With Your Baby?
It is no secret that older children love to play, they never seem to stop running, jumping and climbing! Often, older children can engage in play themselves, as well as invite other children to play with them. But what about babies, how can we include them in the fun? How do you play with your baby?
0-3 month olds brains are growing at an exponential rate, research state that infants brains grow by 64% in the first 90 days. During this time, infants are only able to see up to a foot away, and after the first week they’re able to make out facial expressions. Eye Care Professionals from Bausch + Lomb state; “Newborns can only focus aout 8 – 12 inches from their face, and they only see black, white and grey. As early as the first week, your baby begins to respond to movement and begins to focus on your face.” Gently introduce your child to stimuli, as too much too soon can be overwhelming and overstimulating. With this being said, how can you play with your baby?
- Wear them in a carrier around the house as you do tasks, or prop them up in a room with lots of people, the constant chatter and movement will be lots of stimulation for their growing brain.
- Lay them on a soft surface on their tummy, every minute or two gently turn their head and rest it on the opposite side, with something interesting to look at within their view.
- Let them lay beneath a mobile that has strong black and white patterns, as these are the most prominent colours at this age.
- Shake a rattle for your baby and help them to wrap their little hand around it as well.
At 3-6 months your baby has now strengthened the muscles in their body, and will learn to replicate your facial expressions, show more interest in colours and patterns and become very fascinated and comforted by your words. “These conversations are extremely important, not just because you are teaching her to talk but also because she is getting the feeling of a ‘her’ and a ‘you’ and a joining in the middle through language.” Mentions the Western Australia Department Of Health. There are some wonderful ways to play with your baby at this stage:
- Talk and sing to your baby and notice how intently they start listening, allow them to see the different expressions on your face.
- Place toys within arms length, this helps them to practice reaching out and intentionally touching the object, and eventually grasping it.
- Read books that have many bright colours and big simple shapes.
- Encourage your baby to touch various toys and objects around the house that have different textures.
See Also: The Importance Of Play
During the 6-9 month stage your child has grown by leaps and bounds, they’re learning to pick up two objects at a time and bang them together, crawl or scoot, and pull themselves up to a standing position. Healthy Families BC tell us that tummy time is still important for development, “Tummy time helps to avoid flat spots on babies’ heads and encourages the upper body strength needed for crawling.” Children are so fun at this age and there are many ways to bond:
- Continue reading books to your baby and begin teaching them how to turn the pages.
- Show them how to stack blocks, or place objects into a container, be patient and be prepared for your tower to be knocked down!
- Peek-a-boo is very fun at this stage and they think it’s hilarious, you can also switch it up by changing your facial expression each time.
- Hold your baby’s hands and allow them to walk around, this is crucial for helping them to develop the proper muscles and balance for walking.
Children who are 9-12 months old have begun to show much more of their personality and can be quite opinionated, and this is great! It’s important to remember be patient and kind with them, as they have no concept of what is acceptable and what is not, redirection is key. The Mayo Clinic mentions that “Babies don’t have a sense of right or wrong. Praise your baby for good choices, while steering him or her away from hazardous situations.” How can we play with a baby who is becoming their own little person?
- Chunky puzzles are fantastic at this stage, help guide them to placing the pieces in the proper place.
- Allowing them to play with various floating items in the bath with help improve their hand eye coordination and experience different textures.
- Tupperware becomes even more useful, show them how it stacks and how the smaller containers can fit inside of the larger containers, give them wooden spoons to drum with.
- Look at pictures and books with various animals in them, point to the animal, tell them the name of the animal and what sound it makes.
See Also: Games To Play With My Baby
There are so many more loving and enjoyable ways to spend quality time with your little one and engage in activities that will help both their physical and mental development. It can be beneficial to repeat the same activities daily, so your child has an opportunity to master the skill and knows what to expect. It’s important that you both have fun, patience is a virtue, and your baby is only beginning to figure out this big world.
Tags: Baby, do babies need to play, educational games for babies, playing, toddler games, tummy time