PLAYTIME WITH YOUR BABY - THE FIRST THREE MONTHS!
From the moment you first hold your baby, your baby’s incredible development begins! One of the best ways to foster development, bond, and make incredible connections with your baby is through play! Of course, there are so many ways to show your little one your devotion, but snuggles, hugs, cuddles - as parents, we’ve got those down pat!
But play is tricky, especially the newborn stage of birth to three months. Do they benefit from peek-a-boo, or are they still too little? When can they hold a rattle? Do babies care if you read to them? If you want to make the most out of your play time with your newborn to three months old, we’ve got some tips to help you out!
Birth to Four Weeks
Your tiny bundle of joy is here! Now what? You’ve got the diapers, feeding, sleep thing down, but during those short bursts of wakefulness, what should you do? While any interaction is beneficial to your baby, these activities are perfect for your brand new little one. Remember, at this stage, babies can only see up close to about 6 - 10 inches away and only high-contrast colors.
Even if your baby doesn’t understand the words, reading to your baby is amazing! Not only does your baby love snuggles, but this will help him or her learn the sound of your voice, and your baby can see brightly colored pictures. So set up a library with these favorite baby books, and soon you’ll both have your favorites. (And I promise, by the 400th time reading I Love You Forever, you can make it through without crying. )
Tummy time fun
Your pediatrician will recommend a few minutes of tummy time each day to help the baby strengthen those neck and core muscles. It’s up to you to make it fun, though! While the baby mats are great, honestly, a brightly colored blanket like the Birdsong Swaddle Blankets in cheery prints or the Lovestruck Swaddle Blankets in vivid black and white works just as well for catching your newborn’s attention.
Keep your tiny wonder entertained on his or her tummy by engaging his sense of sight and touch. Touch and Feel Books, plush, stuffed animals like Tommy T-Rex, and rolling a ball that rattles aren’t too overwhelming for such a young baby.
Baby Dance Party
You know that your baby loves to be walked, especially when he or she is fussy, but have you tried dancing with your newborn (gently)? Babies LOVE exaggerated movements and dancing, from soft dips (support the neck!) and slow twirls, to more spirited actions like when you shake a tail feather. If your baby is sitting in a bouncy seat, try the “I’m a Little Teapot!” or “Baby Shark.” Your baby won’t be able to take his or her eyes off you!
True story, I have a friend whose little boy would only fall asleep when she would do the hum The Bunny Hop and do the corresponding dance.
Sing, Sing, Sing
Whether you have a beautiful voice or you only sing in the shower, your baby will LOVE to be sung to. He or she doesn’t care if you can carry a tune, your baby loves to hear you. Have fun with songs by getting your baby involved. Show your baby pictures that correspond to the song, such as “Old MacDonald” and pairing the song with farm animal toys or hand puppets. Be silly and get into, and your baby will have fun, too.
From One to Three Months
Now your baby is starting to stay up longer, get stronger, and able to see farther distances and more colors. This stage is all about back and forth interaction, and while your baby won’t get cause and effect, they’ll get that when they push a ball, it rolls, or if they shake a rattle, it makes a noise! Make sure play reflects these new abilities with these fun ideas for play.
Shake, Rattle, and Roll
When your baby is in a bouncy seat or lying on the floor on his or her back, he or she will start attempting to grab at things, especially something that’s brightly colored, shiny, or makes noise! Try dangling streamers or sparkly fabric off the end of a spoon and let your baby reach for it or try a rattle toy, like the O-Ball that is easy to grab. When your baby gets a little older, the Unicorn Rainbow Stick Rattle is sweet and fun, too.
Tummy Time Part 2
Your baby is most likely starting to get used to tummy time by this point, and hopefully, she or he is starting to like it. By the end of three months, your little one may even be rolling over! (YIKES, right!) Keep tummy time fun by rolling a ball or a baby friendly car in front of your baby, or engage his or her senses with a crinkly-sounding toy or even a keyboard that makes noise when she slaps at it.
As your baby’s senses keep developing and getting stronger, you’ll want to engage her sense of touch, too! You’ve got hearing and sight, but touch is so powerful for a small baby! Go to the fabric store and try to get scraps of all types of material, from felt and velvet to smooth satin and faux fur.
Also, your baby will probably start enjoying bath time more, so take the fun out of the tub by letting your baby lay on a water mat filled with sparkles, shapes, and other eye-catching fun. Or let your baby feel the breeze by taking a swaddle blanket and gently, lightly waving it over his or her face while laying on the floor (for added effect, add a “Whoosh!” sound that will bring the giggles).
While most people think play is for older babies, you can start play from pretty much day one! I promise, your baby is more fun than you may think!
For high quality toys, swaddle blankets, dolls, rattles, and SO much more, check out the Piper Jade Kids shop! Subscribe to our newsletter and get more fun articles, new arrivals, sales info, coupons, and MORE sent straight to your inbox!
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Sleeper - piperjadekids.com