Just after giving birth and then being sleep deprived, you might feel tired to do anything other than changing your baby’s diapers, feeding him and putting him to sleep. It is understandable, but playing with your newborn is just as essential as feeding him is.
Especially if it’s your first baby, things might get overwhelming for you. Despite the fact that it’s not an easy job to entertain someone who can’t focus, speak, express what he feels, we have to interact with him. Because, obviously, all of us will admit that he’s just new to our world. And that can be advantageous in handling him.
Since everything happening around these little ones seems new and interesting, even the simplest of techniques can be very entertaining.
In this regard, playing with your baby can be a useful attempt as it’s not just about playing with toys; it’s all about back-and-forth interactions. Anything you are doing with him can be fun for him.
Therefore, adding play into their daily routine can be a simple way for them to interact with the world. You are not supposed to play difficult games with them or tell them complicated tales; all you have to do is provide your touch, affection and love.
Hence, if it’s hard for you to understand how to play with a newborn or what activities are counted as play, the good news is we are here with lots of easy activities to do with your baby. Below are some simple ideas that’ll help you a lot. But before that, knowing the importance of playing with your newborn is also vital.
So! Keep scrolling down.
Why Is It Important To Play With A Newborn?
Playing is important for your newborn’s overall development, wellbeing, and learning. Through play, your baby learns about all the things around him and how he can interact with them.
Playing with your baby by singing, dancing or even reading can lead to many fruitful outcomes regarding their mental and physical development, communicative and cognitive abilities and many more.
Below are some important points that will make you realize why it is important to play with a newborn.
Early communication skills
Babies are pre-verbal, but they are always strongly attracted to what you are saying. The more you talk to them while playing or doing any other home chore, the more they will develop their early verbal and communicative capabilities.
Their tinny brains develop rapidly, and they are always alert toward catching new sounds and rhythms. So, speaking to them while feeding or playing enhances their language capabilities, and they can speak in their early childhood.
Improves social skills
Playing with your baby and spending time with him for their bonding and socialization skills is crucial. They learn all the verbal and non-verbal behaviour. They deeply pick all the boundaries and analyses what’s allowed or what’s not. Also, they learn about the cause and effect.
All these skills will help them to deal with others as they get older. They’ll find it simple to fix the things in the classroom and playground.
Good gross motor and fine motor skills
Most often, babies do not have proper coordination in their movements. They fall for no apparent reason. They have poor grasping skills and can’t hold themselves upright. But, if you start to chase them in a room or crawl with them, they increase their gross motor abilities for their arms, legs and torso.
This improves their overall balance and coordination. Crawling isn’t only linked to explore the environment around them, but also it helps in interaction with the things happening around them.
Furthermore, when your baby learns about holding himself, his fine motor skills will also improve. In other words, we call it “grasping skills”. It is important to engage your baby’s hands and fingers, making them hold objects in their hands.
You can also play with them by simply holding their hands in yours so that they will also learn how to hold anything.
Enhances cognitive skills
Playing with your newborns enhances their cognitive capabilities by helping in the laydown of all the neurological pathways that provide cognition. These neural pathways become stronger and stronger every time the baby repeats the action.
You should play with your baby in such manners; for example, guide them by repeating certain actions repeatedly while playing with them. Cognitive and memory improvement are developed through playful interactions.
Strengthens the visual skills
You might have noticed that your baby laughs or enjoys seeing you moving an object from side to side or when an object slips from your hands and falls away. It is because your baby has sharp visual recognition and visual tracking skills.
In short, they become more proficient in recognizing the nearby objects with both eyes and learn about the nearby objects when you play with them.
Related: Best Sensory Boards For Babies
Ideas For Playing With A Newborn
Following are some awesome activities you’ll enjoy doing with your little angel in his early days.
Provide new things
Playing with simple objects and even toys will make your baby learn to use his muscles and aid in recognizing them. It will improve not only his cognitive abilities but also their visual tracking skills.
Offer new things such as soft toys, rattles, soft cloths, books with pages etc. It will lead them to learn new things about the world.
Move the objects from side to side, pass them from hand to hand, rotate them at different angles and bang them. By doing so, your baby will get identified with new things around him, their colour and their weight.
Apart from that, try to make eye contact with the little one. It will let him recognize faces and all the different facial expressions that communicate various feelings. Make faces like a smile, laugh, roll your eyes or take out your tongue. You’ll realize that your baby is falling in love with your face.
Changing nappy or relieving a fussy baby is the best time to play face-to-face.
Sing a song
Whether you have good singing skills or not, try to sing songs or beautiful poems to your baby every time you interact with him. This one is the simplest way to make your baby alert and active to the sounds and voices originating around him.
Try to sing in multiple languages so that your baby will learn the different words and languages you’re speaking. Additionally, he will also pick the actions and feelings you are expressing through spoken words.
Many studies have shown that babies love motions and find them comfortable. So, play some soft songs or rhymes, take your angel baby in your arms, and start moving slowly in a safe way. Dancing will also help you calm down a fussy baby as well.
Dancing in front of your baby when no one is watching is another best idea to jump in. Different studies have shown that dancing with or in front of your baby is one of the best activities to raise a passionate child.
It’s never too early to read. Even if your baby isn’t paying attention, read it. Research has shown that reading to a baby promotes bonding and literacy.
They don’t understand what you are saying but readily pick up how you are saying it. Therefore, no matter what you read, read it aloud.
It is also found that reading in the early days promotes brain development, boosts congnition, and improves vocabulary.
Try some simple baby games
If you are still finding it hard to play with a newborn that can’t even hold things in his hands, you should try some of the most simple baby games out there.
These games include this little piggy, blowing raspberries, patty cakes, and peek-a-boo. Apart from that, some simple actions like bicycling a baby’s legs or clapping together with him are also counted in baby games.
These little activities will stimulate your baby’s senses and will enhance both social and motor skills.
This one is often called “kangaroo care”. It includes a broad category of different activities that are the best ways to bond with a baby. Some important attempts also come under, like breastfeeding or sleeping near your mother arm resembles kangaroo care even after the delivery.
Affectionate touch and movements are the best alternatives to form communication between parents and babies.
Skin to skin contact includes anything related to interacting with your baby’s skin. You can enjoy yourself with your baby by giving him a soothing massage that will activate him, reduce crying and irritability, and improve physical health.
Skin to skin contact also includes kisses and hugs. Well, this one does not need to be mentioned but is bounded with a lot of benefits. Studies have shown that babies who get extra love from their mother’s turn out to have lower levels of anxiety.
While babies can’t speak about it themselves, they always crave time and attention from their parents, especially. Your little one will love every moment you spend with him, singing, dancing, reading, cuddling, and snuggling.
All the efforts you do in this regard can bear many fruitful mental and physical health outcomes. So do give your little ones special time and affection they deserve and require.