This post is written by contributing writer, Tasha from Spann-ing the Globe.
Motherhood is so much more than I expected! It is rewarding beyond words and my heart grows every day, but there is one aspect that is not what I planned – interaction! I never realized how alert a two week old baby could be! Adah started sleeping less and less and became more awake and alert, craving interaction! What does a new mother do with a baby that is too young for toys and is easily overstimulated?
Through trial and error, I have temporarily learned what Adah likes and does not like. The key word is “temporary.” Every day she grows more and more and her mind requires more stimulation for continued growth and development! Adah is now eight weeks old at this writing and some days are simply frustrating. She desires and craves stimulation and there is much frustration involved between the two of us during this learning curve while I try to find what interactions she enjoys and what is too advanced for her. But the benefit is the building of a bond like I never imagined and a trust between us that continues to mature.
Babies are constantly building their social skills and respond to different stimuli. They thrive on personal interactions with the people around them, especially their parents. What I have learned is that playtime isn’t always about activity and toys but it is about sensory exploration and bonding. Here are a few of the things that Adah and I have learned we enjoy doing as playtime together:
How to Play with Your Infant
Looking/visual exploration – When baby is bored, I simply walk around with her, allowing her to explore the growing world around her. As her vision and color improve each day, the world becomes more and more beautiful to her! This play provides visual development, social interaction, personal bond, and sensory stimulation.
Making faces/facial expressions – I enjoy looking at my beautiful baby and watching her respond to the faces I make as well. It is fun to watch her face attempt to mimic my expressions! This play provides social interaction, social attachment, visual development, development of their own facial expressions, helps build facial muscles, and builds a bond.
Rocking/swinging/swaying – When baby is fussy, it is so simple to hold your baby close and rock them, but it is also a value to playtime and interaction! It provides sensory stimulation while comforting your baby with your closeness, builds rhythm and balance.
Lullabies – When your baby is fussy, you can add a sweet song to your rocking to build a personal bond, social interaction, rhythm, and strengthen listening skills.
Sounds – There is nothing more enjoyable than the adorable expressions on your baby’s face when you make funny sounds! Tongue clicking, clapping, rattles, tongue raspberries, door bells, and key jiggling all build listening skills, coordination, rhythm, and interaction.
Baby Wearing – Your baby loves being next to you as much as possible and baby wearing is a much easier way to keep her close and save your back muscles! And it will help to build the personal bond, helps social and emotional development, increases feeling of security, and builds visual senses.
Baby exercises & stretching (Baby Sit-Ups, bicycle, clapping, etc.) – Babies need to work out just like us to help develop balance, body strength, muscle development, body control, motor skills, body awareness, and it also helps with social bonding and visual stimulation!
Dancing with baby – Just like rocking, this fun playtime will provide sensory stimulation while comforting your baby. It also will help with their development of rhythm and balance, visual development and help you burn calories!
*Please remember that babies can be overstimulated and cannot tell you verbally they have had enough play, but they can give you clues – crying, turning their head, yawning, and looking away with their eyes. Just remember that every baby is different so you must pay attention to the cues your child gives.
What are ways you have found to play with your infant?