How to Bond and Play with a Baby

As a parents, it’s clear that one of the major duties is parenting. Taking care of your child and making sure they have all they need. Buying all the baby products and accessories needed for parenting. Buy baby clothes, shoes, pants, diapers, cute Hair Bows, baby toys the list goes on and on. With all this, it can get quite easy to forget that you need to spend time with your baby as a friend. Mind you, I know you are spending time with your baby, after all in the first few months, you are with them 24 hours in the day. But it help to do activities that are great for their cognitive and developmental stage and this will help their mental and emotional development. And as your child grows and ages, these activities should change too. You can’t carry out the same activities you do with a 6-month-old with a year old baby who is now walking and babbling all over the place.

SO below are some activities for different age ranges and developmental stages that you can do to help you better bond and play with your baby.

7 to 9 Months

Separation anxiety peaks around 7 to 9 months and your baby may get upset when you put him down or walk more than a few feet away. You may have also noticed your baby only wants to be comforted by you and not just anyone. While this might make dropping him off with a new babysitter—or even a grandparent he doesn’t see very often it could be incredibly difficult and even emotional with the baby crying and screaming. Keep in mind that this preferential treatment is developmentally appropriate and is only a phase. The baby is also getting better at understanding your attempts to communicate with him. Linguistically, he can better understand the tone of your voice, and the baby may even try to mimic the sounds you’re making. Physically, your baby may either be crawling or gearing up to do so. He may also be trying to pull up and stand. A great game for this is all games that involve playing with music.

  • Encore: If you have a toy instrument, you can use it for this game. If not, use any real instruments you may have (piano, guitar) or create an instrument using coffee cans, pots, pans, or wooden spoons. Demonstrate how to play the instrument to your baby. Extra points for singing while you demonstrate! Pass the instrument over to your baby and watch her play as long as she’s content. Use facial expressions to encourage her engagement. Take turns making music. This encourages: hand-eye coordination, self-esteem, and social skills, mimicking the behavior.

At 9 Months

One of the major actions for 9 months old and further is your kid standing on their own for the first time and also starting to walk. The first few tries might end up with your child falling and you might want to take precautions and prepare, Let them practice in areas with a soft landing and you can also put pillows to break or cushion their fall. Along with the magic of witnessing them stand or walk for the first time also comes a new feeling of responsibility for helping your baby thrive in his or her environment. Luckily, one of the best ways to help your baby grow is to play with them in simple, developmentally appropriate ways. A great game for this stage is ball games

  • The Ball Game: Get a medium-sized ball and sit a few feet away from your baby. Roll the ball towards him and watch him stop it. Applaud and ask him to roll it back to you.Cheer for your baby, even if the ball does not come back to you. You can assist him in returning the ball to you and repeat the game, talking about how you are taking turns. This will encourage them to move.

12 Months Plus

It’s not just your imagination—your baby is developing new skills every day, and communicating with him is finally becoming more of a two-way street. He’s experimenting with different emotional expressions, developing a sense of humor like playing pranks on you or trying to play hide and seek, and may even be helping you put on his clothes or deliberately making it difficult by fighting you off. The moment your baby is mobile, a whole new world of play opens up. A great game to help to bond and also speed up development in this stage is hide and seek with toys.

  • Hide and Seek with Toys: Grab a toy that squeaks, show it to your baby, then hide it behind your back and ask, “Where is the toy?” Alternatively, you can also hide the toy under a blanket. If your baby seems confused, squeeze the toy a few times to make it squeak. Give him plenty of time to look around for the toy, encouraging him to find it. Continue to hide the toy and let him search for it as long as he finds the game fun. This encourages: memory, object permanence, auditory skills

13-18 Months

As soon as your baby gets out that first word, he’ll try for more. Vocabulary builds slowly at first, just a few words a month. Kids seem to prefer nouns at first, then gradually add verbs and adjectives. He’ll experiment with one-word questions, like “no” or “water”. At this stage singing with them or getting them to be actively involved in bedtime stories will be a great way to help and even better speed up their developmental process. A good game to play at this stage is “Drop in the Bucket”.

  • Drop in the Bucket: Grab a bucket and several stones.Place a block in the bucket and say “boom!” when the block hits the bottom of the bucket. Repeat several times. Drop another block in the bucket, but this time is silent. See if your baby tries to say “boom.” Let your baby enjoy dumping out the container or taking the blocks out. This encourages the following:  saying single syllable words, understanding cause, and effect

Remember that every day is a blessing and an opportunity for you to do better so if you feel you failed just try again. Every parent goes through this. Just having you there is already a source of great joy to your child.