Playtime: Fun and Helpful for your Baby
Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle
As a new parent one of the most enjoyable and rewarding moments is playtime with your new bundle of joy! Hearing that first, little laugh and seeing that toothless smile, there is nothing quite like it.
Not only is that time of interacting with your newborn fun, but it is also very good for your infant. In fact, the latest research shows that playing with your baby can positively affect almost every aspect of a child’s intellectual development, from boosting imagination and IQ to improving motor skills and stimulating the senses.
“Playtime entices children to use language, non-verbal problem solving, and motor areas during fun activities, which cause ‘nerves to fire together and thus wire together’ for solidified skill-building.” say Sherry Sellers Vinson, MD, chief of the Developmental Pediatrics Service and Clinic at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.
Here are just a few tips for playtime with your precious little one:
- Choose games that are age-appropriate. Games like peek-a-boo, playing with soft blocks, and throwing soft balls into the air, are good for babies that are a few months old, it helps with eye movement. As they get older try more repetitive games like paddy cake.
- Singing, reading or talking to your child will encourage them to start making their own sounds, even if it is just babbling at first.
- Mix things up. Different games stimulate children in different ways, so aim for variety. With an 8-month old, try rolling a ball back and forth. This helps develop visual motor integration, ability to anticipate another person’s actions, balance, and coordination. For toddlers, Vinson recommends a tea party. “When the mother pretends to pour tea for the child, and the child serves real cookies, it combines development of smell, visual motor integration, and imagination abilities,” she says.
- Structured Games-As your child gets older, try some board or card games. Matching games are also a great way to stretch their minds.
- Enjoy your time bonding– Playtime helps you bond with your child and helps them build important skills, like motor coordination, language, and following directions.
This is a special time for you and your child and knowing that playtime is also helping develop their little minds is an added plus.