How to Play With Your Baby
Playtime for babies is just as important as playtime for young children. However, it will certainly look a little different! Babies cannot play with toys in the same ways that toddlers do, but they do still enjoy having fun. Read on for different ways that you can play with your little one!
Photo courtesy of Lukas
Why playtime is necessary for your baby
Your child develops all different kinds of skills through playtime in their earliest months. These might include motor skills, social skills, and communication skills, like learning to talk or eye contact. At around two months old, you may notice your baby taking an interest in the world around them, as well as the people around them. They may smile at passersby and react to silly faces. These small interactions can be included in playtime and assist in developing his social skills.
What are the best ways to play with baby?
A plus side to playing with a baby versus a toddler is that no fancy toys are at all necessary! Babies are low maintenance when it comes to playtime, and simply allowing them to explore the space around them can be enough.
According to an article on Parents.com titled, “The Best Ways to Play With Your Baby,” written by Rebecca Stewart, allowing your baby to grab at objects helps them to develop necessary skills for later in life. Let him lie on his back and hold something in front of his face. Eventually, he will understand how to grip the object and hold it himself.
Further, Stewart cites that having your baby on his belly for playtime helps his muscles to get stronger. He can learn to use his elbows to prop himself up, as well as lift his head away from the floor. Tummy time is sure to strengthen his head and neck muscles. Set up a playmat and let him explore the floor below him! Incorporate toys… or don’t. Baby will be happy either way!
Photo courtesy of Nikita Nikitin
Another simple way to play with your baby is using a ball. A child can play with a ball from a young age, according to an article titled, “23 Baby Game Ideas for Your Baby’s First Year”, on Pampers.com. Of course, your baby will be doing a lot less catching and throwing early-on. The easiest way to play with a ball is to roll it to your little one. He will likely try to grab hold of it, and once he does so, allow him to explore the object. For the next step, encourage him to roll the ball back to you!
Photo courtesy of William Fortunato
Additionally, reading to your baby is a great way to keep them stimulated and engaged. Grab hold of a baby book just before bedtime and get them all snuggled up for storytime! Pampers suggests books that have simple stories, large illustrations, and books that introduce your little one to different colors, animals, and shapes. The story helps them to wind down and settle into bedtime.
Overthinking is not necessary here—games as simple as peek-a-boo are perfect for entertaining and engaging with your little one. Watch him giggle and give smiles galore! Another great way to play with your baby is, again, to simply make silly faces at him.
When to know that baby has had enough!
According to zerotothree.org, babies also need a break from playtime. They can be upset by too much stimulation, so it is important to recognize the signs of when they are ready to take a break from so much fun. Some of these signs include crying, falling asleep or eyes drifting shut, hiccupping, becoming fussy, and turning her head away, according to zerotothree.org. Babies are stimulated from many different aspects of their environment, from eye contact to too much light. Reducing as much stimulation as possible allows them to rest from all that playtime!
Additionally, you know your baby is ready to resume playtime when he makes noises, eye contact, or turns towards you. Observing how long of a break your little one needs will help you gauge how much playtime he needs for the future.
There you have it! Playtime with baby is simple and fun. No elaborate toys are necessary to spend time with your little one. In fact, playtime can consist of tummy time and exploration, or games as simple as peek-a-boo.
What do you plan on trying with your child? In what ways has your baby enjoyed playing in the past? Let us know in the comments!