Playing with your newborn is important. This will help them develop motor, social and cognitive skills. Through play your baby will develop hand-eye coordination and start to understand how the world works. But it is not only for the baby, it is also important for you. Play time will help create a stronger bond between you and your baby.
When your baby is very young (0-3 months) it might result difficult to think of age-appropriate ways to play. Your wee one has limited arm/leg coordination and visual focus. Do not fret, there are many ways you can encourage your baby to play and learn. Here are 5 ways you can play with your newborn.
Your baby loves looking at your face and will try to mimic your gestures. Put your face close to your baby’s and do some funny expressions, i.e. sticking out your tongue or opening and closing your mouth like a fish. You can also make some noises to double the fun. Observe the fascination on your wee one’s face. Eventually he will try to imitate you. Don’t forget to mimic him too.
Babies can recognise their parents’ voice as soon as they are born. They have heard it every day while they were in the womb and will react to it.
It is never too soon to start having “conversations” with your little one. Speak to him while he is awake and alert. If he coos, you can reply and wait for an answer. Give him time to process what is going on.
Rock your baby. Hold him close to you and rock him up and down, side to side. Mix it up and you will have a little dance! You can also sing or hum a tune to go with your little dance. Try different speeds until you find something your baby enjoys.
Physical contact is very important in the early stages of life. Your touch is reassuring and will help your baby create social and emotional skills.
Gently caress your baby’s skin. Stroke his back. Tickle his feet or under his chin. Our little chicken loves it when we tickle just behind his ears. We get the best smiles!
You can also give your baby different textured objects to touch. Most babies at this early age wont grab things on their own, but you can put things in their hands. Try with a wooden toy, a furry scarf or a soft sponge. Watch his reactions to see what textures he enjoys most.
Another good way to play with your newborn is reading to them. Use different voices for different characters and modulate your voice in order to keep it interesting. Let your baby see the book and point out things for him to focus on. Your little one enjoys hearing your voice and reading is a fantastic way to stimulate his imagination. Try adding a bedtime story to your routine.