New parents are bombarded with information about raising children. What diapers to use, whether to breast feed, and how to make their babies smarter. Millions of dollars are spend every year on products designed to make their child smarter and more alert.
But nothing matches parental interaction for helping a child grow and learn. Talking, singing, and cuddling all play a vital role in your child’s development. So does play time.
From the moment your child is born, they are curious about the world around them. Every experience is new, from the feel of their blanket to the sounds around them. And every new thing helps them make the connections that will help him grow and learn.
When my children were babies, they loved to play games and interact with me. Any game made them smile and laugh. They looked forward to play time with me. I did too.
Because newborns are still getting used to their environment, be sure to watch your child for signs of over stimulation. If you child begins to squirm or cries, change the activity to something more calm, like cuddling or rocking.
So, what kinds of games can you play with your newborn to help him make these connections? Be sure to choose activities that are age appropriate for your baby and it’ll be as easy as 1, 2, 3.
Birth to 3 months old
At this age, most babies aren’t mobile. They are totally dependent on you to take care of everything, from feeding to getting around. This is a great age to show your baby the world around them. Remember it might take your newborn a little while to respond to your games. It is normal and doesn’t mean anything is wrong.
What is this?
Newborns are fascinated with touch. Soft, rough, furry, everything interests them. Now is the time to put that wardrobe you spent a lifetime accumulating to a wonderful new use. Find the items in your closet that have most diverse feels and colors. Silk, suede, velvet, fake furs and cashmere sweaters are excellent choices. Let baby experience each one as long as he wishes. While you are doing this, be sure to talk with you baby, tell him what he’s feeling and seeing.
Music has charms to sooth the cranky baby. While not every baby loves music, the majority are calmed by it. So why not take advantage of that and try dancing with your baby. Find a music your baby likes, one that doesn’t put him to sleep. Turn it on low and hold your baby, making sure you give his neck the support it needs. Then sway, move around, do dips, and just dance. It doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as you hold your baby and interact with him. If your baby doesn’t like dancing, maybe he’ll like watching you dance. Exaggerated movements can hold your child’s attention and entertain them for as long as you can dance.
Wow, look at that!
Babies love to feel new things. Their eyesight isn’t perfect right now, so they need to see things up close and personal. They find things we take for granted interesting. You can use this interest to introduce your baby to the world around him. The kitchen is a wonderful place to find a diverse group of things your baby can look at and touch. Spoons, whisks, spatulas, fruits and vegetables are different kinds of things you can let your baby look at and touch to learn about his home.
4 to 6 months old
At this age, babies are more active. They are learning to roll over and to hold their head up. Near the sixth month, most babies are learning to sit up as well. Here are some games for their age group, in addition to the previous ones.
Now that your baby’s eyesight is improving, it’s time to take advantage of most children’s love of bubbles. A great game to play when you are outside is bubble blast. A small bottle of bubbles and a wand are all you need to provide entertainment for your older baby. There are even little bottles of bubbles, complete with a wand, you can even keep in your diaper bag for those times you are outside for long periods of time and baby is cranky.
Both of my son’s loved to fly. Zooming around the house, with me supplying the power, brought loud giggles from them. Playing rocket baby is simple; you only need to decide what kind of flying machine they’ll be. Airplanes zoom around, dipping up and down, and circling the room. Rockets start off low and rumble up toward the ceiling. Take your queue from your child and you can’t go wrong.
Babies love to be touched and tickled. A fun thing you can do with your child is the belly furp. The way you give one is take a breath, place your lips against your child’s bare belly and blow gently. You’ll make a very funny noise as well as tickle you child. My boys still think this is funny. Again, be sure to pay attention to your child while playing. Stop if your child seems upset by this action.
Creative play is a wonderful way to bond with your newborn and older baby. And help him develop his social, emotional, physical, and cognitive skills.