Things I wish I had been told before I had a baby – Part 4 – Playtime

IMGP2874Readers, this is a small post, as there’s only so much you can do to entertain a teeny tiny baby! Here are a few things I learnt along the way, some of which I now feel have really paid off in terms of time investment and effort.

Playtime:
• You will inevitably run out of things to say to your baby, so sing to them, and sing along with a varied selection of music. My baby particularly loves (and you can see I was a child of the 70’s as this is what I was raised on):

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• Become aware of how little you use your facial expressions and make sure you make your face cheerful and mobile when communicating with them.

• Talk them through every aspect of what you are planning to do with them that day both at the beginning of the day and as you go – effectively narrate your day – so they know what to expect as time progresses.  When they know what to expect, they feel in control and are happy.  While this might not be directly useful in the first three months, it gets you into the habit of doing it for when they hit six months or so and do understand.  And, arguably, they do understand a great deal at a young age – for example, by 9 weeks our baby understood when we said ‘arms up,’ to soften his arms and allow us to lift them and bend his elbows to get him dressed, and by 20 weeks he could lay his legs down flat when we asked him to so we could easily change his nappy, he learnt what ‘touch gently’ means, and he could even understand and follow the direction ‘hands down, mummy/daddy do it’ for things like cutting his nails or cleaning him up after a feed.

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• The Dream Baby Guide is a great book with clear and useful tips on all manner of parenting.  Lots of the above ideas and phrases came from here.  I believe this is best read and established prior to 6 months of age to ease you into their greater awareness and mobility.

• Make sure your baby spends some time each day without you entertaining them.  They can sit in their chair and watch you while you prepare food, shower or eat, and this way they learn the art of waiting quietly and can be more easily taken out as they get older and you want to eat outside the house or amuse themselves when you need a mental health moment or indeed to just get something important done with both hands!

• We used coloured mobiles, wind chimes, and brightly coloured tiny pattered books all dangled over him within reach so he could look at them and then as soon as he was able, reach for them and practice his grabbing.

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Playing with your baby becomes easier the older he gets and the more interactive he becomes.  For now, when they are tiny, your job is to entertain him yes, but also do what you can to not drive yourself crazy or get so bored you want to cry!

Enjoy this small window of playtime with your little one and do make any suggestions you can think of to add to the list.

Best wishes,
Naava.

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