Contributed by Lauren Vien, Education Director at Rose & Rex
Ever wonder, “What should I be doing with my baby all day?”
We get it. As parents, we try to fill our babies’ days with anything and everything that positively impacts their development.
To create rich play experiences, try interacting with your baby in the following ways:
Speak, read, or sing to your baby. Language development is influenced by the amount of language that a baby hears during his or her first year. Narration is one way to incorporate lots of language into your play. “I see you reaching for the yellow ball. Oh! You touched it with your finger tips. Uh oh! Now it’s rolling under the table. Can you reach the ball with your foot now?”
Massage, tickle, or rub your baby’s body. Touch reduces stress and increases the unique bond between parent and child. In addition to cuddling up together, try providing your baby with independent sensory experiences. Naked playtime allows babies to move freely, while exploring how their bodies relate to the surface beneath them.
Encourage your baby to reach, kick, grasp, and wiggle. Seek safe, padded play spaces for your baby to explore- both indoors and out. Tummy time troubles? Try introducing books or musical instruments. Babies should spend nearly every waking moment experimenting with movement; be conscious of how much time your baby spends confined to a bouncer or stroller each day.
Eye contact, facial expressions, and tone of voice are crucial elements of emotional development. Playfully exaggerate feelings of happiness or sadness. Stand in front of a mirror with your baby, study each other’s faces, and mimic each new expression. Connecting with your baby in this way teaches your baby how to communicate with others.