Playing with your baby:
Your baby learns as he or she plays. Playtime will look different as your baby grows.
Newborn playtime consists of being held, being touched lovingly, and being in a variety of positions (tummy time,
sidelying, lying on their back). Your baby will benefit from experiencing a wide variety of positions, including tummy
time, lying on their side and back. Some babies like soft music playing in the background. Other times, it is nice
to offer a quiet environment for your baby to listen to one sound at a time, such as your voice or a soft musical toy.
- Newborn: toys or additional visual stimulation (other than the human
face) are NOT recommended or needed for this age
months: Even at this age, toys aren't recommended. Most babies like bright colors and sharp contrasts
(red against black, or blue against yellow, etc.) Rattles and hand held toys can be good way to introduce toys
to your baby.
- 3-4 months: Wooden toys,
textured chewy toys, simple board books, rattles, balls of different sizes and textures, teething rings with textures,
socks with patterns or other noise makers
- 4-6 months:
ring stacker or other cause and effect toys (toys with push buttons, lights and sounds, etc.), wooden blocks for stacking,
toys to bang together, puzzles
I do like toys, however, NOTHING
replaces human interaction for helping your baby's brain develop. Reseachers have found that when a baby has consistent,
loving and interactive (back and forth) relationships, brain development is enhanced and learning is made easier.
Interacting and Communicating with your
Listen to your baby - Your baby
communicates through sounds and body language or movement. When your baby's eyes brighten, s/he is interested in communicating.
Enjoy making eye contact with your baby. Use a calm, relaxed facial expression, and change your facial expressions slowly.
You will know your baby needs a break from the stimulation when they look away, start to fuss, or arch their back/stiffen
arms or legs.
Talk to your baby - Your baby
has been listening to your voice since conception. Sound waves travel through the womb and fluid to baby's ears. Speak
in a soft and loving voice with your infant. Imitate the sounds your baby makes and watch for his or her reaction. Many times
babies raise their eyebrows and smile when they hear the parent imitating their sounds. They really feel listened to! It is
critical that babies engage in back and forth communication like this to learn social and emotional regulation. Social and
emotional regulation means that your baby is aware of what they are feeling, they are able to easily move and play within
their environment, and they feel comfortable and confident with interactions with other human beings.
Take turns with your baby - Your baby will make a sound. Allow time to
finish, and baby will naturally pause to hear what you have to say. Speak slowly and lovingly, then pause to give another
opportunity for your baby to "talk" to you.
Being still with your baby:
It is beneficial for your baby to spend time in a quiet environment with a relaxed and calm parent at least one time
per day. This helps your baby learn to regulate their attention and to relax their whole body. Being a baby can be quite stressful!
- Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit
- Dim the lights
several deep breaths, slowly inhaling and exhaling
your mind of worries or concerns
- Pick up your baby
and sit down in this spot
- Think about how much you love
your baby and how grateful you are for him or her