Seeing delight in your baby’s eyes and hearing their laughter are reasons enough to enjoy playing with them. However, there is an even better reason to enjoy playing with them- it also helps development.
As you play with your baby, engage all of their senses: eyes, ears, nose, hands and mouth. These are the tools that they use to explore and learn about the world. To engage all their senses try some of the following games.
A baby learns to talk by imitating the sounds we make. Encourage your baby to engage with you by cooing and talking to them. When doing this, praise your baby when they copy you. When reading them a story, show them that pushing a button makes a noise, like a duck quacking or how to turn the pages of a book.
When you are dressing or changing your baby’s nappy play peek-a-boo. At first they will show their delight by paying close attention. As they develop, they may smile, make sounds, and kick their legs. At around 9 months, they will begin to find you and pull away the nappy or clothing.
Song and Dance
If you have a favourite song that your mother sang to you continue the tradition and sing it to your baby. Don’t feel self-conscience about your voice. Your baby loves to hear you. Dance around when singing to keep them engaged. Listen to different types of music and find out what your baby likes best.
A ball is a great toy to help your baby explore with their senses. If you can, offer your baby a ball with different colours and textures. Encourage them to play with the ball and roll it back and forth. Let your baby discover what they can do with the ball. Go outside and bounce it against a wall or pavement.
As your baby gets older and grows, they learn to use their body to explore the world. They will also start to reach and grasp for items, allowing them to interact with their toys in different ways.
At the age of 9 months, your baby will understand cause and effect. So, they will understand that if they push a button in a book, a duck will quack. In addition, they will comprehend that things they can’t see still exist. You are still behind their t-shirt even though they can’t see you.
By your baby’s first birthday, they will be communicating with you using gestures, facial expressions, sounds and perhaps even some words.
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