Your baby discovers its environment partly through the development of its senses and muscles. This is called the sensorimotor stage of cognitive development. Babies are stimulated by playing with their hands and feet during some activities. However, there is no substitute for the human contact and attention a child receives when playing with parents and siblings. For newborns or babies aged 1 to 2 months, playing is more about fun, bonding and trust, than interaction. Laughing, cooing, grimacing: your baby playing will be delighted!
Music, singing, and dancing
During the day, take time to choose the music you like to dance with and sing to your baby in your arms. On the one hand, this will be good for you as the music will relieve your stress, and on the other, it is likely that your baby will fall asleep to the soft sound of your voice.
Books and rhymes
Babies may not be able to talk, but they can listen! So even if they don’t understand the meaning of words, feel free to read stories or sing rhymes to. The rhythm of certain stories or songs is very appealing to the baby and the sound of your voice reassures it.
Activities with a beach ball
Children of all ages love to play with a beach ball. For younger children, a beach ball that is not too inflated is ideal. They will pick it up with their little hands, swing it, throw it, roll it and chase it while trying to crawl. A ball is a great tool for your baby’s motor development.
Playing in the mirror
Get an unbreakable mirror and motivate your child to play in front of it. You can have fun making faces, smiling, kissing, etc. You can also stick pictures in the mirror to provoke their curiosity or reproduce the expressions in the pictures. This activity is very popular and is used by the followers of the Montessori method. It allows the child to concentrate and follow its movements, while it is quite safe because it is on the floor.
Stimulating interior design
Provide toddlers with a room decoration that stimulates their hearing and vision: colorful, bright objects, mobile toys, and others that make sounds (cuddle toys, small stuffed animals, rattles, balls, early learning toys). Even if they cannot grasp them, sounds and colors are very important stimuli for them.
Look into their eyes
The bond with your baby is created mainly through eye contact, from the very first days of life.
Types of exercises
1) The cradle: Lie on your back, bend your knees and place your baby on your stomach, making sure their legs hang slightly between yours. Use your hands to hold your baby in place and especially to support his head if he is not yet in control. Keep the legs bent and lift them in the air to form a 90° angle, then swing them back and forth. This activity is suitable for babies from birth!
2) Lullaby: Lie on your back and place your baby on your lower abdomen. Hold your baby on your arm. Keep your shoulders and feet on the floor and swing your baby back and forth to sleep. This activity is possible from the age of 4 months, as long as your child can hold his or her own head.
3) Feelings: It is much more than a toy… it is a habit you need to acquire on a daily basis. When playing with your baby, remember to exaggerate your emotions: talk playfully, laugh, smile, make a face if a toy breaks, etc. This is very important to stimulate the baby and show him a variety of emotions that he may not dare to express. Be sure to give him time to give you a feeling in return and above all, avoid pushing him!
4) Pedal movements: Have your baby make pedal movements with its feet during diaper changes: this allows awareness of the movement and of the body. This kind of activity is part of a baby’s early motor development.
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