10 ways to Engage your Infant
Engaging a newborn? I know what you are thinking.
Newborns just keep sleeping, eating, peeing, and pooping, don’t they?
Why would they need any engaging?
Aren’t they too small to learn anything?
I hear all your questions!
But you know what? Newborns are actually learning ALL the time they are awake! Pick a time when they are not hungry or sleepy, right after a nap, when they are well-fed, and you are good to go!
The Nestery helps you out with a few ways in which you can interact with your newborn.
- Touch – Babies love to be picked up, cuddled and touched! Have you seen how just a hand on them while sleeping calms them down? So go ahead, and pick up that baby for a quick cuddle or hug – and no! Your baby will not turn out clingy, we promise you!
- Read – Books! Pick some textural books like a sensory or cloth book or just a book with bright big colors and objects and turn pages while reading to your infant in an animated manner. As a first time parent, when I did not know how to talk to my child, books were a life-saver. I would just read to the baby, it didn’t matter that the baby didn’t understand what was there. Just the colorful pictures and the animated talking was enough to make them rapt!
- Talk – Keep speaking to your baby! Your baby is constantly absorbing the sounds around them and all these sounds they hear will be their first introduction to the language you speak.
- Sing or play music – Go old school! Sing a lullaby, make up some funny songs, and just sing/play them to the baby at specific times. I even had a specific (very embarrassing!) song I made up for diaper changing time! Your baby even learns to associate specific songs with a specific part of their routine – so if you constantly play a specific piece of music at bed time, it will help to settle them easier for bed, because they understand and associate that song with sleep time over repeated hearings.
- Show – Your baby is constantly taking in all the sights and sounds around them. Point out everything around you, in a book, in the house and have a constant conversation with them. (Do not baby talk – it is terrible for language development since your child does not learn the correct way a word is supposed to be pronounced.)
- Dance – This ought to be fun! Pop them in a baby carrier or just carry them around, play some music and dance away, all while keeping their neck supported. And get prepared to hear some amazing chortling and giggling from your baby!
- Smile – While your baby is awake, smile, coo and make funny faces! Your baby loves to see expressions on your face!
- Showing a mirror – This isn’t unlucky, contrary to popular advice doled out by the older generation in India! Just use a soft, unbreakable mirror for safe play. Mirror play helps kids develop their own sense of identity, and helps them to better understand their body, track objects, improves their focus, observe their surroundings and helps with their language development when they are older. Ever met a child chattering away with their reflection?
- Tummy Time – Tummy time is a very important activity for infants to develop trunk control. Lay your child on their tummy on a firm surface and place a few brightly colored objects around them as an incentive for them to stay on their tummy – it is hard work! Or you could lie down near them and play with them too! Tummy time can also be given with baby on your chest and stomach too while you coo or speak with them!
- Rattles and Textured toys – Keep a few rattles or soft toys with different textures around the child to let them explore safely. Watch as they shake the rattles and try to figure out the source of the noise!
How did you engage your infants? Tell us in the comments below!