Aww, the sweetness of newborns. The snuggle sessions. The hours spent studying their tiny (perfect) features. The midnight wake-up calls...
One thing that doesn’t instantly come to mind when you dream of those early baby days? Playing together. But, in fact, this is an important opportunity to lay the foundation for all the play and learning that is to come.
Here’s how to get started—and have fun together.
When: With newborns, the sleep periods far outweigh the waking times. Carve out the little moments of activity that you can when baby has a happy tummy and isn’t quite ready to doze off. Better yet, look for times when your baby is alert and attentive rather than alert and squirmy—which will help them stay focused on you and the task for a longer period of time.
Touch: Babies love exploring a variety of textures. While it may be some time before your little one actively reaches out for the baby touch-and-feel books you have, you can help guide their hands to the different squishy, bumpy, soft and rough textures on the page and describe what they are feeling.
Sound: Compared to the muted lull of the womb, the sounds of the world are fascinating (if not occasionally overwhelming) for babies. With your newborn, demonstrate the sounds different toys like a rattle or music player can make—and use your own voice to narrate all that you are seeing and doing throughout the day.
Sight: In the first weeks and months of life, baby’s eyesight rapidly develops. In the beginning, books and toys with high-contrast colors are the best bets for capturing baby’s attention. As they can see farther, the toys dangling high above them on the playmat will become more captivating.
To encourage all of this, get down on baby’s level during tummy time to act out the different toys moving around or to point to pictures in a book. As their trunk strength grows and they can hold up their heads for longer, put a little mirror ahead of them so they can admire the pretty baby—a sight that can only be topped in their books by the funny faces that you can make.
These sessions will grow right along with baby’s engagement and curiosity—and, soon enough, you will be the one learning a thing or two.
Kids2 provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.