It’s very important to know how to play with a newborn because play is a central part of the children’s development. Many new mothers are even afraid to handle them because they look so fragile. Naturally, how to play with a newborn is a good question for every mom, aunt, and even the friends of the new mother. Newborn babies need to learn even the simplest of things, like interpreting facial expressions or how to bond with others. Here are a few tips for creating an ideal environment for your infant.
Top 11 Ways to Play with Your Newborn Baby
Make Eye Contact
From a newborn you can’t expect much interaction. Vacant stares and the occasional crying are all you receive during the first months, but they really are sponges of information. Think about it like about recording a tape. During play, the best tool you have is personal interaction. This is how children learn how to interpret contextual information and how to read expressions. They can’t see very well during their first weeks, so keep the baby close to your face when you sing or talk to him/her.
Talk to the Baby
A baby can recognize his mother’s voice even before birth, so hearing your voice is one of the most soothing things for them. Do the baby talk, as in the goo-goo ga-ga variety. Scientists have showed that infants actually appreciate that kind of speech. Talking to children is one of the best things you can do for them because their later school performance is related to the number of words they hear during their first years.
Change the Game
Newborns have a very short attention span. Rarely will they enjoy the same game for extended periods of time, as in 15 whole minutes! Most often you will need to change the activity every 5 minutes or so. You will know that the baby enjoys your tricks when he’s laughing or smiling at you. Don’t worry if the baby doesn’t pay attention or doesn’t react to a game that’s recommended for his age. This is a matter of taste and it definitely doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with the child.
Read to the Baby
Talking can be difficult because at some point you just don’t have any idea what else to say. Create a healthy tradition by reading to the baby and showing him nicely illustrated stories. This will help his development and improve your bond. If you don’t have a book at hand, just start reciting your own version of Cinderella. Accompany your storytelling with hands motion, like you would do with a sock puppet. This kind of interaction is stimulating, so don’t do it before bed time.
Give Him a Massage
Babies need a lot of physical interaction. Their tiny muscles are just developing, so a nice massage will be greatly appreciated. You can massage babies during the daily bath, or in the morning when they wake up. Depending on the baby, this may be a relaxing activity before bed time, or a stimulating way to start the day. How to play with a newborn is not the only question, but also how to spend quality time together.
Time to Go Superman
Place the baby on his belly on the floor and put his favorite toys just within reach. He might try to raise his head or reach for the toy, and this makes a great way to exercise his core muscles. Later on when he learns to walk, this may prove to be of great help. Careful though if the baby doesn’t seem to enjoy it. Just return him to his comfortable position and try later on. You’ll notice when his muscles become stronger and he can sit like that for a longer time. All the motor skills that your baby needs can be picked by having quality time on the floor. This position teaches the baby how to roll, lift his chest and keep his head straight.
Sing and Dance
Babies love to be rocked back and forth and hear your voice. Why not turn this activity into a full scale dancing contest with music? While you may not be a great singer, your child certainly loves your voice. So hold him close, sing and dance around the house.
Carry Him Around
Newborns are used to sitting folded in a tiny enclosed space because of their life in the womb. They also enjoy being held and in your close company. Don’t let them in their crib while you do chores around the house. Get a baby sling and carry him around while you do your activities. You can also explain what you’re doing as this will add to that all-important vocabulary base that makes babies smarter. If you run out of inspiration, you can always start singing. You like moving around and so does your baby. Keeping the baby close will effectively calm him/her down.
Present Him the Environment
The most ordinary things for an adult can be intriguing experiences for a baby. They literally don’t know anything. For this reason, when their eyesight gets better around 3 months, you can give your baby a tour of the house. You would want to know where you live, and so do they. Hold the baby and show him/her the contents of the cupboards, drawers and closets. If they seem to enjoy it, you can repeat the experience every week until they get bored.
Exercise His Senses
Show him new things; let him feel them, give him things to smell. Colored toys can take the shape of different animals. Make a puppet show every now and then for the baby and explain to him the interactions between the toys you are showing him. You know how rubber feels different from wood or cotton. Take a rubber ball and rub it gently in his palm and he/she will want more interaction.
The most fun answer to how to play with a newborn is light-hearted physical interaction. Tickle his tummy a bit when he’s in a playful mood. Sometimes this even works for distracting a brooding newborn in the mood to cry a little. Laugh while you do it, as an invitation to have fun.