How Do You Play With An Infant? All You Need To Know
From the moment babies are born, they always want to play in one way or another. It could be gazing into your eyes, smiling broadly at you as you tend to him or listening keenly to your not so awesome tunes as you sing. This is more so for newborn babies who are still not well developed to play with toys.
The baby’s definition of play becomes more elaborate as he continues to grow. And as he learns to use his legs and hands, you get a chance to expand on the scope of play with the baby. However, this is not as straightforward as you might think.
There are some parents; particularly the new parents who are not always sure of how to go about the whole baby play issue. If you are in this category, do not beat yourself up for no reason as you are not alone in this.
How do you play with an infant? Do not worry anymore. In this article, I will be giving you tips to help ease your worries. Or if you have started playing with your baby, these tips will help enrich your play time and encourage the baby to play on end as long as he can.
How To Get The Best Out Of Playtime With Your Infant
For an infant, playtime is like his “work” and fun all rolled into one. It is during this time that they explore the world around them to get to learn new skills, explore their creativity and imagination and also learn to socialize with those who handle them.
So, it is kind of a big deal if you get the best out of this time. Most importantly, as the parent, you have to realize that you are your infant’s favorite playmate and first “toy.” These tips helped me have a good time with my girls, and I hope they do to you too.
1. Read the Signals
As a parent, our greatest asset is that we always know and understand what our babies are not saying with words. You may call it telepathic, as this relationship works almost the same way. Getting the hints and cues will be key for a fruitful playtime.
When your infant is ready to play or has played enough, he will let you know without uttering a word. You, therefore, have to be keen on the facial expressions, gestures and even the sounds.
After a meal, when the baby is relaxed, calm and is staring into space, it is a cue that he is ready to play. Or it could be a smile as you place him down after feeding him. All these non-verbal communication forms mean that he is ready to work and explore whatever mommy and daddy have got.
A tantrum or a yawn during a play session may mean he is bored and you need to change the activity, or he has had enough of the particular activity he was involved in. These signals will also help you figure out what forms of plays your child prefers.
2. Follow The Infants Lead
As parents, we always assume that we are always right and know all the tricks of play. It may be true, but your toddler will not see it that way. It will be like you are taking over his playtime, and he will not appreciate that very much.
So, always give your little one control over a playing object or activity. For instance, if it is a toy like an elephant stuffed animal for a baby or any other toy for that matter, just give it to him and then see what the little one is up to with it. You can then follow along, although it is very probable that it is not the right way.
It is best to assume that the kid is showing you a new way of playing with the toy or going about an activity. Once my girls figured out that they were “teaching me” new ways of playing with a toy, they used to love play time.
3. Provide Help When It Is Necessary
During certain plays with an infant, you will realize that they get stuck at some point. At this point, the urge to lend a helping hand right away is always there. It is good to help but minimize it. Let the baby try to figure out some of these things on his own, as it stimulates his brain neurons more.
Take an example of stacking blocks. Show him how it is done the first time then encourage him to do the same, a try at a time. Your only help should come in when the frustration in him becomes too much. This provides some sort of motivation and hastens the process of skill learning.
4. Do Not Let Your Frustration Show
When playing with an infant, once they figure out how a certain toy works, they will find repeating the play to be very thrilling. But mostly, you will not have the same enthusiasm as him.
The feeling of doing something all by themselves gives them a powerful sense of competency and they would want to do it over and over until they have mastered it. Woo unto you who has to stand hours of playing the same game.
You may feel frustrated, but do not let it show as it might make the infant feel bad thinking that he is not putting more effort. I know it reaches a point where some of us even hide some of the toys so that we do not have to stand the repetitions.
The same frustrations also come in when the infant is not quite getting the activity right. Just hold on as he will not be an infant anymore, and will figure all that out.
5. Be Mindful Of The Playing Area
Once you get into the playing mood, infants get all in and do not bother to mind about the safety of the playing area. It is actually, therefore, upon you to ensure the place you two will be playing in is infant friendly.
Noise or any distraction should be limited, the place should be right for the activity, and the place should be accident-free. If your infant has started crawling or walking, lamps and any object that can be knocked should be out of the way. In this way, tantrums, yells, broken lamps will be kept to a minimum.
6. Identify Your Infants Playing Needs
First and foremost, you need to identify your little one’s special needs if he has any. It is not good to assume all infants will be able to play Pick-a-Boo. Some infants might be having a mental, social or even a physical need, and may find it difficult to play certain games.
Still, no matter the challenges, every child will benefit a great deal from a playtime that is tailor-made to fit their specific needs. You need to figure out if your child has some preferences such as environmental, peer and behavioral preferences.
Playtime is an integral part of an infant’s development stage. It is through play that he gets to learn new essential skills while you two get an opportunity to bond together, and the infant gets to know better his handlers.
However, playing right can be a little hard if you haven’t been here before. Playing with an infant starts by recognizing that anything you do around the baby is considered as playing. It could be carrying him, singing or laughing. After this, it is important to play a variety of games together so that the sessions don’t get too boring.