How to play with your infant

I've heard it many times from moms and dads alike: "When my baby gets older then I'll start playing with him." It doesn't need to be that way. There are things that can be done, from day one, to play with your infant and show them your love.

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  • Playing with your infant is something that you've probably dreamt about for a long time. However, now that they have arrived and they're sleepingall of the time, you may be wondering how exactly you're supposed to play with them.

  • First off, let's talk a little about the importance of play and what it means for your child. As described by babycenter.com, "Play is crucial for your child's social, emotional, physical, and cognitive growth. It's your child's way of learning about his body and the world, and he'll use all 5 senses to do it, especially in the first year."

  • Now that we're on the same page about how important play really is for your child, you may still be wondering what you can do to actually play with that sweet little bundle. Here are a few suggestions based on our 5 senses:

  • Music

  • Babies love music, it's as simple as that. Play all different genres and have fun with it. For an added bonus, sing to your child. I promise that no matter how good (or bad) your singing voice your baby will love it just the same.

  • Talk with your baby, rather than to

  • Sheknows.com has an excellent suggestion, and I couldn't agree more. "If you want baby to learn the nuances of language and to develop his vocabulary, go beyond giving instructions ("now wipe your hands"), or making simple declarative statements ("that's a doggie"). Hold a conversation. "Look at the clouds! I love the rain. Do you think it's going to rain?" Even before baby's expressive language allows her to participate fully in a conversation, her receptive language is up and running, and she is learning the give-and-take of conversation."

  • Read

  • I'm a huge advocate for reading to your child. If you're still having a hard time talking withyour baby, try reading. The sound of your voice is so comforting to them and will strengthen the bond between the two of you.

  • Take a walk outside

  • Does a case of cabin fever have you down? Bundle up baby and head outside. Along with getting some fresh air, your baby will love looking at all that nature has to offer. Don't forget to point out interesting things to look at along your way.

  • Face-to-face expressions

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  • Babies are mesmerized by faces, especially yours. When your little one is awake and alert, take advantage of that time and show your baby just how many things our faces can do.

  • Exercise

  • From a very young age, many doctors encourage "tummy time" for your child. Most children don't enjoy it very much, so why not switch it up a bit a play with your baby on an exercise ball?

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Jessie McKinley is a city girl living in a small town. A graduate in Home and Family Living, she now puts her knowledge to use daily as she teaches and raises her two young children, whom she adores.

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