I am a new mother, with a baby who is now 2 months old. Babies are known for simply sleeping, eating, and pooping when they are first born, but I wanted to do what I could to help support my daughter's development, since I know that there are many things you can do when babies are still young. Here are some ideas about how to play with your baby.
Sing/Read – Babies love to hear your voice, and even recognize it. Singing and reading to your baby helps to teach them about rhythm and patterns of sentences. It also helps begin the foundation for language.
Talk to your baby – When you’re changing their diapers, when you’re nursing, when they are crying, any time that they are awake. You don’t have to be in a constant conversation, but the more words a baby hears, the more it supports their communication. I have found that my baby has started watching my mouth when I speak to her. This helps her learn to form the words, and she tries to move her mouth to match mine, thus laying the foundation for her first words (even though her first words won’t be until she’s almost a year old).
Tummy Time – The importance of tummy time cannot be stressed enough! From the time your baby is born, you can lay her (or him) on your chest, and it helps your baby to practice lifting her head. It strengthens her back and neck muscles, which will help her when she is ready to crawl and walk. Once the umbilical cord falls off, tummy time can be on the floor. There are many ways to make tummy time fun for baby. Check out some ideas here.
Feather – You can take a feather and stroke his face, head, arms, legs, chest, etc. This helps baby to be more aware of his body, and is a new sensation for him.
As your baby grows, you can add different elements to play. Once your baby is able to hold her head up, you can hold her in a sitting position. You can put a toy in front of her, and she will begin to try to reach for it. This helps support her gross and fine motor skills. Your baby will love to try to grab it, and will be proud of herself once she eventually is able to actually pick it up.
Let baby lay on the floor on his back. As babies are trying to figure out how to get their body to move, they love to be able to kick and move their arms and legs. They will also love this perspective of their environment. You can lay them under a ceiling fan so they can watch it spin. There are also toys designed to arch over them so they can work on trying to hit or kick them to make a noise.
Playing with your baby is a great bonding experience for the two of you. Dads are also great at playing with baby, and will love trying to get baby to smile or laugh. It helps them bond as well.
For more activity ideas to help support your child’s development, ask your care coordinator or call Help Me Grow at 801-691-5322. You can also check out our other social media links, or visit our website at www.helpmegrowutah.org.