How to Play with Newborns | Parenting Guide

According to current research, blur images with dulled colors are how your newborn baby perceives this world. So, you might wonder how to connect with someone who is so disconnected from the visible world. Read on to know more about how to play with newborns

Facetime

how to play with newborns

One of the easiest ways to connect with your baby is to offer them some face time. This basically means to get close to your baby and allow them to study your face. Studies show that babies begin to distinguish faces long before they can distinguish different shapes or patterns in the environment. 

Babies can only focus on parts of faces near to them. So, allowing your baby time to study your face not only makes them familiarize themselves with you, but you can also associate with their visual experience. On top of that, this also helps them to distinguish relevant social information like emotions in the future. 

Being Silly

Babies as young as a few days old can begin to mimic some of their mom’s facial expressions. So, the trick is to get close to your baby and stick your tongue in and out repeatedly. And, they should begin to stick their tongue out back at you as well. As your baby gets older, you can level it up by mimicking their sounds and facial expressions back to them.

Talking about Your Day

Narrating your day is also a fun way to play with your baby. Show them different rooms in your home, talk to them about what you are doing, or what you two are seeing. All of these activities have been shown to increase children’s IQ and vocabulary range as they get older. You can also encourage your baby’s language skills by starting conversations where you give them time to respond to you. 

Sign Language

how to play with newborns

One effective way to encourage communication is to begin signing with your baby. The newborn phase is an excellent time to introduce sign language for frequent activities like changing the diaper or nursing. Your baby will no longer cry during diaper changes if you always show them a sign for that activity first. Because they know what to expect now, so interrupting actions won’t irritate them anymore.

Signs are amazing tools that eventually allow your child to communicate with you long before they can speak. So, start practicing now!

Stretching

Another important aspect of infant development is gaining spatial awareness. Babies need time and space to recognize and study their arms and legs and the ways it moves. So, you can encourage this by simply allowing your child to stretch out on a blanket. This helps your baby to develop movement control and concepts about distance which play an important role later on in life. So, give your baby time to stretch!

High Contrast Toys

Up until 3 to 6 months of age, babies can only see between 12-15 inches in front of them and can only really see in black, white, or grey tones. So, it is why finding toys in high contrast black and white can be extremely beneficial for your child’s development. So, give them objects to study these as you encounter them around your home. If you don’t have any contrasting items, you can make your own by coloring black and white on paper and stick it on toys.

Studying these encourages your baby’s brain development. And, they can also be used to encourage visual tracking as they are highly interesting to your newborn. Shadowing is also a high contrast game that your baby will love.

Dancing

Around this time your baby can also pick up on different types of music so it’s a good idea to put some on the background and let them listen while they’re stretching out or maybe even pick up your child and go for a dance around your living room or your kitchen. They really enjoy this activity 

Another skill that emerges around seven or eight weeks is the ability to grasp and hold on to a toy. You can encourage this behavior by offering your baby a small rattle or little teething rings. They offer unique textures and they’re easy and lightweight for a baby to hold onto.

Learning about Objects

how to play with newborns

Another way to offer your baby some sensory experiences is just to find a few different items in your house and let your little one grasp, see or smell them. You can start with toys or maybe fruit. Scratching the surface of fruits like lemon so your baby could smell the strong citrus scent. Your baby will be very curious about new scents. Therefore, they will try to find where it comes from by following your hand. This helps your baby learn about other scents and distinguish their mom’s smell from others. 

The Bottom Line

Those first months are filled with change. Your baby’s brain will grow at such a rapid rate. While the days are a blur of naps, feedings, and diapers change. We hope you’ll find some time to play with your baby. And, whenever you’re playing with your child, make sure you’re looking for signs that they’re not overtired. So, if they’re looking away from you, yawning or closing their eyes. Those are signs that they could be overtired and they’re not really in the mood to play.

Not only do these activities encourage your baby’s brain growth, but they will also provide opportunities for bonding and learning about the world together. So, let’s hop to it and start to play with your newborn baby!