You’re eager to bond with your baby, but newborns and infants aren’t always the most interactive bunch.
Newborns sleep most of the time and infants can’t walk or talk just yet – unless they’re advanced for their age!
So what do you do? How do you bond with your baby when you feel like your choices are limited?
You do exactly what your baby needs to do – PLAY!
Play is a child’s work. It’s that important. It’s how they learn.
They learn language by hearing you talk to them and to other adults. No, TV shows and music don’t help them learn language!
Sensory play helps them learn about shapes and textures, how things move in the world (think: gravity), and what things move themselves (a bowl vs. a dog).
Using their bodies frequently helps them understand how their bodies work and helps them develop the muscles and skills necessary to do things like crawl and walk and run.
For even the littlest of the little ones, play is the best way to bond with your baby (unless of course they’re tired and want to disengage for a little “me” time – pay attention to those baby cues!) and BabyCenter.com has a fantastic list of “20 Fun, Silly, Development-Boosting Games to Play With Your Baby.”
Here’s a few of our favorite ideas for how to bond with your baby:
Birth to 3 Months
– Dance! Pick up your newborn, turn up the music, and show your little one what rhythm feels like. Fast or slow, if you’re having fun she probably will, too!
– Let the Scarves Fly: Lay baby down on her back, lift up a light scarf, and let it float down onto her head. My little girl loved it! Now she prefers to leap at it and wrestle it down to the ground instead.
4 to 6 Months
– Smell the Spices: It’s the perfect time to introduce your baby to the delicious scents of cinnamon, vanilla, peppermint, orange, and more. Whether it’s the spice rack or your daily lotion, scents are fascinating to babies!
– Mama’s Gonna Get You! Baby can experience anticipation now, so turn up the fun by pretending to chase and catch her (even though she can’t run away just yet!). You can also threaten to cover her in smooches or eat her chubby, little feet…yum!
7 to 9 Months
– Clap, clap, clap: Baby can learn to clap her hands now, but she can also learn to clap (or bang) things together. Take a toy in each hand and show her how much fun it is! You might regret it later when she’s banging things together at 6 o’clock in the morning, but for now she’ll have tons of fun.
– On and Off: There’s nothing more gratifying for baby than realizing she can affect the world around her. Show her how to turn lights on and off with the light switches, or to turn on your dining room fan by pulling on the cord. Then watch her eyes light up when she realizes, “I did that!”
10 to 12 Months
– Mystery Boxes (or Bags): At this age, babies love to discover things. Give her a box of tissue and you’ll get 20 minutes of piece while she’s fascinating by pulling every single tissue out. Then she’ll graduate to emptying your purse, emptying daddy’s wallet, and demanding to help you unpack that box you just received in the mail. OR, you can throw together a bunch of household items and create little bags and boxes for her to explore instead.
– Take a Bath: Now that baby can sit up well, bath time with toys is so much more fun! Make sure to use non-toxic bath soaps and shampoos because they’re still at that age when EVERYTHING ends up in their mouth.
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Featured image source: www.ag.ndsu.edu