27 Sep Best Activities for Newborns
Do you have a new little bundle of joy in your home and you’re wondering what you can do to interact and stimulate your baby? A lot! Read on, and we’ll talk about how you can interact with even the youngest of babies and help spur their development along!
Babies have a natural desire to interact and play; therefore, this is the best way for you to interact with your baby. As babies enter an entirely new world they have a lot to take in and learn. Learning includes a variety of domains or areas like social and emotional, language, cognitive, and motor skills. The best part is that mom and dad can be right there to engage with the baby in each of these areas; thereby, helping their development and also creating fond memories at the same time! Listed below are some activities you can do with your baby for each domain.
Social and Emotional
Initially, an infant’s eyesight is poor so you’ll want to be close to your baby when interacting with him or her. Baby will not be able to see you clearly from across the room. Part of learning social and emotional skills is facial expressions and recognition, so smile frequently at your baby, and over time you’ll begin to teach what different facial expressions mean.
Babies are able to begin learning a language from a very young age. They will start by cooing and babbling. Mom and dad, you too can practice returning these coos and babbles with your baby. This will help your baby get the feel for a “back-and-forth” conversation. Also, reading is a huge part of language development, and the best part is, you can never start reading to your baby too early! Reading a variety of books with your baby, regularly, will help in the baby’s language and speech development.
The cognitive domain includes learning that involves thinking and problem-solving skills. Babies learn this by watching people’s facial expressions. In the first few months, they will begin to watch people move throughout the room and will learn how to use their eyes and hands together, in order to reach for items, they want and then get those items (problem-solving).
Motor skills and gaining muscle strength are extremely important for a baby. Initially, a baby will need a lot of neck support but within the first couple of months, you will be able to see the baby developing more neck strength and trying to hold his or her head up alone. Tummy time is incredibly important during this time period, as it further helps to strengthen those neck muscles. Always remember, tummy time can be very tiring for your baby, so try to do it after a baby is well-rested (early in the morning or after a nap) and preferably on an empty stomach to reduce the chances that it causes a baby to spit up. In the first few months, a baby will also begin to push down on hard surfaces, and so, with a little support baby can try to “stand” while being held for short periods of time. Lastly, a baby may begin trying to roll over and push up on the elbows when lying down. All of these activities will further engage the baby and help muscle strength and motor development, so get down on the ground with your baby and have some fun!
Remember, babies will tire quickly so don’t worry about feeling the need to constantly have an activity planned. They (and you) will need some rest between activities. You don’t want to wear yourself out as the parent either. Simply engage with your baby daily and take time to enjoy the time you are spending together!
American Academy of Pediatrics, The Power of Play – How Fun and Games Help Children Thrive November 2019
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC’s Developmental Milestones January 2021
Pathways.org, Tummy Time 2020