Playing with a newborn is hard - we know this. It often seems like they aren’t paying attention or simply aren’t responding. Sometimes, they might not even look at the baby toys that you just spent a few hundred dollars on. We’ve done the research and here are some tried and tested ways to engage your baby.
Babies are born with a natural grasping reflex. If you put your finger in their hand, you’ll notice that they grab it every time. You can take advantage of this by placing small rattles in their hands. They might shake it and notice the sounds it makes.
Babies mainly see in black and white in the first few months. They can also only see about 20-30cm in front of their face. That’s why it’s important to use high-contrast visuals and colors when playing. For example, you can use a black and white card and slowly move it from the left to right. See if your baby can track the card with their eyes.
Babies love interesting sounds like bells, paper, foil wrappers - literally anything. Choose something that your baby finds interested and make some sounds with it. Move it around slowly while making the sound and see if your baby can track it.
Skin-to-skin contact has been shown to have numerous benefits for your baby, including reducing crying, improving sleep, promoting weight gain, boosting immunity, and promoting brain development (to name a few). Give your baby a gentle massage after changing them or lay on your back and place your baby on your belly.
Funky facial expressions
Research has shown time and time again that the one thing babies recognize and love looking at is your face. They speculate that babies pick up language, social skills, emotions, and more by studying faces. Make silly facial expressions and see if your baby tries to imitate you.
PSA: It’s never too early to play on a playmat! Place your baby on their back and encourage them to stretch out. You can also dangle interesting visuals over their face. If they’re up for it, you can also introduce 1-2 minute sessions of tummy time to let your baby have a feel for being in that position.
At the end of the day, your baby will love spending time with you regardless of what you’re doing. Having the right baby toys can also help make play time more fun and create learning opportunities!
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