What Do I Do to Entertain My Baby? 8 Tips to Help

entertaining your infant

Often, in those early days of infancy, in between the feedings and the changings and the sleepings, it’s easy to wonder “What do I do with this baby?” Especially for caregivers who aren’t familiar or comfortable with the baby phase, how to keep an infant entertained can seem a daunting challenge. After all – what can you really do with someone who can’t focus their eyes, sit up on their own, or communicate their thoughts?

It’s easy to overlook the fact that their limited exposure to the world is actually an advantage. Everything is new and potentially interesting, so incorporating play into your daily tasks can be rather simple. And they don’t demand complicated games or stories that make sense – they just crave your presence and attention.

Here are 8 simple tips for playing with your baby.

Cooking Class: While they’re not yet ready to serve as official taste-tester, babies can still enjoy time in the kitchen. (As a reminder – never place babies in chairs onto counters, it just isn’t safe! A highchair, seat on the floor, or even a backpack-style carrier can all be safer options.) The sounds and smells of a meal being prepared stimulate their senses. While you’re cooking, talk to baby about what you’re doing. Whether it’s telling him about the recipe you’re making, handed down from your grandmother or simply reciting things out loud as you go (Next we need one cup of sugar. Sugar is sweet – like you!) the sound of your voice will help baby feel included as you work.

Fun while Folding: Laundry. Chances are, you’re doing a lot of laundry with a little one in the house. Little ones can curl up in a clothes pile while you work. The process of folding clothes can stimulate the senses – the colors of the shirts, the rush of air as you shake out a towel, the requisite game of peek-a-boo as you lift and drop a blanket.  Again – you can talk with baby as you go, about the colors, textures, and use for different items. (Feel this soft blanket. Look, it’s daddy’s blue shirt!)

Dance with Me: As any mother who has rocked and bounced and driven in circles can tell you – babies love motion and find it soothing. You can always cradle baby in your arms, but this is a spot where babywearing works especially well. Put on some tunes and scoop or sling your little one. You can dance and bounce around the living room, but you can also work in some time to straighten up the house or make some phone calls while you move and groove with your little one.

Stretch, Pedal, and Tickle: Lay baby on a blanket and help him get moving. Gently hold his hands while you move his arms above his head, out to the side, and around. Give those adorable toes a little squeeze and pedal his legs (this one is also great for gassy babies!). Gentle massage and tickles from the bottoms of his feet to the top of his head can offer fun for both of you.

Face Time: Tummy time is recommended for all infants, but it’s often not very well received by the participants. For something different, place baby onto your chest and talk to him or sing songs. When your voice encourages him to lift his head, he’ll be rewarded with a glance at your smile. The physical contact and closeness can make tummy time a more pleasant experience for everyone.

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Read Aloud: At this point, your infant isn’t able to demand that you read Hop on Pop for the 34982 time. He just likes to hear your voice. So if you’ve been up late with your little night owl and are desperate to read that book on infant sleep, go for it. It’s more about inflection – how you say it – than it is about content – what you say. So read whatever you like, just read it out loud.

Sing a Song: Whether it is a lullaby at bedtime or a little Katy Perry in the car, go ahead and belt it out. Your baby isn’t going to judge your pitch; they just like the familiar sound of your voice. This one comes in handy when you’re sneaking in a shower with a fussy baby waiting impatiently. Bring a bouncy chair into the bathroom and put on an impromptu concert while you shampoo.

Take a Break: You don’t have to be “on” for all your infant’s waking hours. Just as adults can benefit from some downtime, infants need a balance of stimulation and quiet time to process their environment. If your baby is awake and content, it’s perfectly alright to let him hang out in his crib or in another safe spot while you get some well-deserved time for yourself.

Share in the comments – what is your favorite way to entertain your baby?

Image via iStock

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What Do I Do to Entertain My Baby? 8 Tips to Help

Sara McTigue is a secret agent, cupcake chef, award winning author, photographer, and PTA mom. At least, that is how things look in her mind. When she isn’t testing the bounds of her imagination, she is a mom to three amazing and hilariously funny children, wife to a charming and handsome man, and thoroughly addicted to reading. With a BS in English Education and an MA in English Literature, words – and their ability to shape our lives and thoughts – are an everyday fascination. Af ... More

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21 comments

  1. SnuggleBugs says:

    I have a 10 week old baby boy and he likes to walk around the house with me. He is learning to reach out and grab things already. Tummy time is fun as well.

  2. shelby says:

    i have a four month old daughter. my first. love her to peaces. she is always soo happy. we have a everyday routine together . i let her wake on her own n shes always smiling. after her morning feeding she likes to relax and watch her baby first class show. then shes ready to go for another hr or so. i always do tummy time and morning exersizes with her. she naps while i have a lil me time. shes loves to cook n clean with me . put her in her baby carrier n we are off playing dancing cleaning folding clothes n cooking. she loves to b hands on with mommy. she loves it when i sing to her but when it comes time to read a book she gets ants in her pants lol…love to hear n read about new things to do with my love…cant wait till shes on the go….

  3. gavin'smommy says:

    This is an awesome article! My son just turned 4 months and I’ve been looking for some new ideas to keep him entertained…he gets bored very quickly! He loves me to sing to him and point out the different parts of his face: eyes, nose, ears.. (even though he’s too little to understand). We will definitely have to try some of your ideas!

  4. cpatton says:

    I loved reading this, not having children of my own but falling in love with a man who has 2 of his own, this really helped me!

  5. Jesse says:

    I found all these suggestions to work.

  6. Jessica says:

    Good ideas! Getting ready for my little one soon so this helps.

  7. Krystal says:

    good article some great ideas!!

  8. Jesse says:

    Great article, well worth reading.

  9. Carolyn says:

    I really loved this article! Such great and easy to do ideas. My baby is one week old and she pretty much eats, sleeps and poos which is what any baby really does at that age but I had no idea what to do with baby when awake. I thought I was supposed to let them nod back off to sleep since I keep hearing their pretty much only up for 1-2 hours in a day. Thank you so much for letting me know ways that I can bring my baby out of the crib and play with her. My husband was also getting anxious with wanting to play with her.

  10. sbrown18 says:

    Great ideas, got to remember these when the little one arrives!

  11. rukunitl says:

    I love these ideas for entertaining an infant! My favorites are singing and walking around with the baby!

  12. Jasmine says:

    This is a awesome list of ideas …. a definite expert list … all of them are entertaining and stimulating for baby….

  13. Yes! That’s also great for helping them to begin understanding how to "read" emotions.

  14. thinkobu says:

    Aww, really cute ideas!!!

  15. atroxell says:

    My 10 week old loves to listen to music and dance. Sometimes dancing with her is the only way to calm her down!

  16. sathyaa says:

    Great Tips to entertain new born!!!! Another way is making funny faces and make your newborn laugh!!!!

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