As parents to a newborn baby, you might think that playing is something which is still a certain distance down the road because your baby is still ‘too young to be played with’. You’ll be surprised to know that infants develop more than one million new neural connections per second. Even though the development of your baby will happen in its own pace, there are always certain things you can do to encourage it.
Studies show that this is an apt time to stimulate your child’s brain; it helps them explore and adapt. Doing developmental activities with your child also builds a bond and helps the parents observe their child better.
Top 8 Ways to Play with a Newborn
Here are certain ways in which you can play and interact with your child effectively:
1. Face Time
No, don’t get your child connected to an iPhone, that is not the kind of facetime we are talking about. According to many researches, new born babies prefer looking at faces that are smiling, have open eyes, make eye contact, belong to their caregivers and are responsive to their actions, over any other kind of interactions or games. Looking at your face makes your baby happy and what else could be better than that!
It is also important to keep in mind that your baby should not only be encouraged for playful interactions with the family, but should also be taught to explore and make sense of things on their own. A baby between 0-3 months of age cannot be expected to make sense of a lot of things around him/her, but certain things like touch and noises can be brought into the picture gradually. This helps develop the baby’s senses.
2. Talk to Your Baby
We all have seen parents and other family members baby-talking with their babies. Well, now it’s your turn. Talk to your baby about how your day went, baby talk as much as you want, and whenever you want, in a higher-pitched, slowed down exaggerated voice. As hard as it might be to believe, but this would actually help your baby understand and develop language better.
3. Touch Your Baby
Skin to skin contact plays a very important role in the development of your baby as well as developing a connection between the baby and the parents. Some researches say that increasing touch increases the growth and development of the baby. There are many added benefits of this too.
4. Hold Your Baby
Holding your baby helps you and your baby alike. Holding your baby in your arms helps develop trust and makes your child feel safe in your arms. This will also facilitate skin to skin interaction. Along with this, holding your baby helps with postpartum depression and even regulates the baby’s body temperature and heart rate.
5. Sing to Your Baby
Singing to your baby is another great way in which you can help your baby develop while also playing with him/her. Include hand movements and gestures while singing. This will naturally help your baby in coordinating and making hand movements for functional use.
6. Play on the Floor
Playing on the floor is a very important part which must be paid attention to. Most of what your baby will learn in the first year, every single one of the motor skills that your baby will develop, rolling, sitting, crawling, walking etc, all of that is the result of playing on the floor. Therefore, this plays a huge part.
All the other activities mentioned above can be very easily performed while on the floor. Therefore, we can combine this with other activities very easily.
7. Imitate your Baby
This builds confidence in your baby and helps him/her in relying on you. This way, your baby knows that you are paying attention and are responsive to his/her attempts. He/she will also learn about back and forth communication through this little activity.
8. Give your baby something to touch
The more your baby is exposed to different textures and materials, he/she becomes more familiar to them and learns to discriminate between them. Babies learn about the environment as well as their bodies primarily through the sense of touch. You must have noticed that many toys are designed with a variety of textures. This is the purpose of such variety in textures, to help the baby learns and adapt through the sense of touch.
In the first months, the baby is taking in so many different things from the environment, learning primarily through your regular touch, and by being close to you. Things that come naturally to most parents like baby-talking, or talking to your baby in a sing-song voice, making funny faces and noises, are actually helping the babies develop their conversational skills.
In the first few months ‘playing’ with your baby is mostly about holding him/her close, talking to your baby, and spending all the possible time with him/her. These things not only bring you closer to your baby but are actually helping your baby develop even better.
Before concluding, there is something that must be addressed as many parents must be troubled by this particular issue. What if your baby does not like floor time, or does not seem to react as is exactly expected? Among everything else, we must also remember that all babies are different. They might be really little, but they are a whole different person (in the making). They will take their own time and pace in reacting and adjusting to things. Your baby will also have their own personal likes and dislikes, and as they grow older, this will only grow stronger. Therefore, instead of worrying about these things, enjoy with your baby.
Remember, the goal is to have a good time with your little one, while helping him develop and grow in the best way possible. As long as the goal is clear in your head, you will have a great time with your baby.