When Can You Start Playing With Your Baby? The Answer Will Surprise You
Once a newborn has been brought home, everybody cannot wait to get a hand on her. These people do not even give you the mom a chance to hold your precious one. But the fault is not theirs; babies have this thing about them that you would want to play with them just about any time.
Babies need to interact with their caregivers to trigger and stimulate brain development and other essential skills. All in all, playing with a baby is good for both the baby and her mom. It provides a good bonding session between the two of you, as her other skills get a boost as well.
Amidst all the plays, cuddling, smiling and cooing is a question that worries most moms and baby handlers. When can you start playing with your baby? When is it too early or too late to start enjoying each other’s annoying company?
When Can You Start Playing With Your Baby?
At the first mention of play, all we think of is the baby pushing his trains around, the girl feeding her doll, etc. But the truth is, play can take various forms and does not necessarily involve toys and dolls.
Before this, she already has her definition of playtime. It could be just staring into the air, smiling at you or even following your every finger movements. And therefore, to answer this question, you need to understand that the time to start playing with your baby depends actually on what game you want to play with her.
Look at it this way; a newborn will not be able to run around the house, as a grown-up baby won’t like the idea of constantly lying down. It is therefore not about the toys, but you and her interacting together.
Playtime with your baby can start any time after birth and goes up to around six months when she starts to learn to conquer the world on her own. Each of these play times will provide a unique set of abilities and skills. Let us now deeply look at some of the playing timelines.
Most baby play time starts at around two months. The reason behind it is that in the first month, babies only do two things. They eat and then fall asleep right away. It is then up to the second month that they start being alert.
At this age, the baby will start to smile at you, giving you the first clue that they are ready to start playing. You can then proceed and start making the silly faces or funny noises as you may get a reaction at some point.
It is in this manner that she starts developing her socialization skills, albeit with you doing all the playing and making a fool out of yourself. You smile, she watches, you make a funny sound, she smiles back. This is her definition of fun.
At this age, your voice is an effective and a quite engaging playing tool for your baby. You can tell stories, or even sing to her (never mind your tune). The songs help the baby in learning the rhythm and cadence of the language she will speak.
Singing out short tunes such as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” works magic, just as dancing along to your favorite tunes as you hold your precious one.
At this age, the baby is getting a better grasp of her surroundings. She now can associate you with how your touch feels; she can also recognize you by your voice and also associates your face with comfort as well as the source of her food. It is at this age that she starts to give you a reaction when you enter her room. This is now the right time to start saying out the names of everyday objects to her.
She may process all these slowly, so you should not feel stupid talking to someone who probably isn’t understanding a thing. You should have relief in that she is storing everything you are telling her for the future use.
The baby should also be starting to learn how to coordinate her eyes and hand movements. Her sense of touch is, therefore, more developed and is then able to grasp a few things. This is the perfect stage to start introducing the toys.
Toys that resemble animals with unique appearances and are brightly colored like a pink stuffed elephant will easily entice your baby to start playing with you. You simply need to know how to use these toys to get her to play with you.
To get her in the mood, hold out bright toys on her face and see whether she will grab them. Your advances may be met with some hesitance at first, but she will soon get the hang of it and start to grab the toys herself.
Once she has gotten used to her bright colored toys, you can then introduce her to a mobile fitted with rotating toys. When she is awake, she will enjoy looking at the toys as they move about (babies love this).
Once in a while, you will notice her wanting to bat the toys with her feet or hands. This will help her improve her hand and hand coordination.
Now your baby is starting to see the world for what it truly is. And for some babies, they have started rolling and spending some time on their tummies. Her grasp has also improved and needs newer toys to play with together with you.
These toys should be as light as possible and considerably large too. Very small objects will easily find themselves in the baby’s mouth as she finds mouthing very comforting.
Some babies will even have a crack at language. And this is where the fun is for both of you. Try making any sound at her, and she will make it in return (often with hilarious effects).
5 to 9 Months
At five months, the baby is starting to sit on her own, thereby opening a new world of play for her. When in a seated position, she can interact better with her toys, and would most of the time want to pound on them. A baby piano will make a perfect pounding toy as well as those that make noise or produce certain sounds.
She will also realize that if she lets something free, it falls. My baby used to laugh hysterically when any of her toys fell, and I had a lot of cleaning to do after that.
The cause and effect skill is learned at this age and development stage. To help achieve this, encourage her to make noise by giving her toys to this effect such as the piano, drum, etc. Better still, sit her and encourage her by saying “Bang! Bang! Bang!” By making these sounds, her language development is promoted.
10 to 12 Months
Oh! Look, the little girl is little no more. Your girl can now move about, crawl, while others can even walk. At this age, games that encourage movement such as chase games can be introduced. This helps in developing better gross motor skills.
Play chase whereby she crawls away, and you follow suit. You will not believe how fun that is. When your baby is not walking around and is seated in a place, give her toys that she may require to do some manipulating such as pop-up toys or stacking rings.
Playtime with your baby is the most enjoyable time that parents get to spend with their babies. Because let’s face it, you do not enjoy the screams in comparison with playtime. So, when can you start playing with your baby? The perfect news is that you can start playing with your baby at any time.
It is, however, advisable to start playing with your baby during the second month after birth. But even before then, you can sing to her, dance along to a tune when carrying her or smile at her. All these are forms of play, as you increase the tempo as she grows up.