Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Playing with Baby--Birth to 6 months

Here are just a few things you or your spouse can do to bond with baby in the first 6 months:

  1. Cuddle, coo, kiss and hold- Every time you cuddle or hold your baby, you are helping your child build brain cells and become more secure with the world around them.
  2. Mirrors- babies love to look at themselves.  This activity will provide entertainment and education about faces and body structure, as well as an increased understanding of depth perception.
  3. Play a musical instrument for your child- Expose him/her to the beautiful sounds of live music as well as a variety of CD's.  Again you're building brain cells with minimal effort.
  4. Borrow or buy a swing, walker, exersaucer, play gym etc.- The variety of colors, shapes and textures will help baby learn about their world and practice eye/hand coordination while reaching for things.
  5. Play Patty cake, Peekaboo, This Little Piggy and other hand movement games- These activities increase eye/hand coordination and build better bonding with eye contact.
  6. Talk to your child while changing and dressing them- Explain what you are doing to build your relationship and expand their vocabulary.
  7. Play in  the bath- Encourage splashing and talk about the feeling of the water.
  8. Show them how to "push up"- Get on the floor with your child and show him/her how to push up on their hands.  They will enjoy watching you in a new environment.
  9. Massage your child- Using baby oil or Johnson's lavender baby lotion, massage your child to relax them before bedtime.  For a how to visit this link.
  10. Rock your baby- There are few things more relaxing for mommy and child.  However, do not rock your child fully to sleep.  Lay him/her down before fully asleep so to soothe themselves.
  11. Go for a walk- Explore your neighborhood, talking to your child about the sights and sounds around you.
  12. Use a baby carrier to take your child with you throughout the day- Place child in carrier for trips around the playground or while doing household chores.  Talk to baby about what you are doing and use the time to bond with your child.
  13. Read to them alone or with a sibling- Babies can learn alot by hearing you read.  Their vocabulary will increase and they will enjoy the bright colors and characters of the books.  Be sure to include a variety from simple board books to some books "over their heads:" Dr. Suess, etc.
  14. Play with sibling- Engage both of your children on the floor, playing puzzles, etc.  Your baby will learn a lot from how you and your other children interact.
  15. Lay baby under a play gym- Hang a variety of colorful toys and items to stimulate baby.  Talk about texture, color, numbers, and if you have animals, talk about the sounds that animals make.
  16. Sit ups and push ups with baby- Lay on the floor with baby on your lap.  Do sit ups, greeting your baby every time you come up from the floor.  Or lay baby on floor and give him/her a kiss every time you come down for a push up.
  17. Talk with your baby about everything- Make everything a learning experience from the kitty walking into the room to shopping for groceries.  Talk about saying "Thank you" to the clerk and the rising cost of groceries.  
  18. Play worship music- Babies love music and playing worship music throughout the day is a great way to bond with your baby while teaching them about God.
  19. Create opportunities for your child to play with other babies of a similar age- seek out baby that are similar in age for them to communicate on their baby level.
  20. Join a mom's group- Some mom's groups will incorporate Mommy and Baby activities that create opportunities for bonding.
  21. Help your child play with a variety of textured items- Find things in your home that are rough, soft, hard, squishy, rubbery, smooth, etc.  This will give your baby a chance to learn about his/her environment and expand their vocabulary.
  22. Incorporate tummy time in your day- Lay baby on tummy beginning for 5 minutes at a time.  This will strengthen back and neck muscle as well as develop brain cells and depth perception.
  23. Blow on your baby's belly- This is a fun activity that using listening, touch, and eye contact and really allows you and your child to bond.
  24. Allow your baby to explore your face- Encourage your child to touch your eyes, ears, glasses, nose, hair, etc.  Talk about color and texture and don't forget to talk about being gentle.
  25. Move your child from room to room with you- While you're doing housework, move your child with you.  If you're doing dishes, move the baby in the kitchen with you.  If you're cleaning a bedroom, lay the baby on the bed and continue talking with him/her.
  26. Utilize a bouncer- These are great for tip #25.  They are funny for the baby to bounce in and provide great face to face contact as they can sit baby up to "talk" to you.
  27. Break out the pots, pans, and wooden spoons- Encourage baby to make music with you, exploring eye/ hand coordination.
  28. Sing to your child- Singing to your baby is a great way for them to develop trust, hear language, learn, and expand their vocabulary.
  29. Swim with your baby- Movement in the water is a great experience for your child.  Find a local pool and spend some time playing with your child in a weight-less environment.  It will allow them to move their bodies in a way that's not possible at home.
  30. Take a Mommy and Me class together- Many classes will teach you a variety of techniques for working with your child.  From finger play songs to massage techniques, you will learn more from other moms and the instructor than you can ever learn from a blog or a book.  It will also allow you and your child to have an experience on which to expand your growing relationship.
These are a few ideas that Work for Me.

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