How Exactly Do You Play With a Baby? See What the Doctor Says

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Image via Jamie Davis Smith

You couldn't be happier. Your new baby is starting to blossom and wake up to the world. You love singing “The Wheels on the Bus” and playing “Peek-a-Boo.” You play these games every day — then you get bored. How can you best play with your baby so you both have fun and so you can help your baby's development along.

Kyle D. Pruett, M.D, a clinical professor of Child Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and an Educational Advisory Board Member for The Goddard School, has some recommendations:

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Any game should include a caring human (peek-a-boo, hide and seek). Start with eye contact and monitor how the baby is managing the excitement.

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Image via Jamie Davis Smith

Any music should start with your making the sounds along with eye contact (keep it sweet with simple, repeated melodies).

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Any physical interaction should begin with gentle touch or lifting. Monitor your baby's face for intensity of the play.

{ MORE: Different Ways to Communicate with Your 6- to 12-Month-Old }

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Avoid entertainment for sake of entertainment unless you want an enduringly passive child who will look to you for many long years, starting with the preschooler whine: “I'm bored. There's nothing to do!”

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Avoid digital entertainment, especially for babies.

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Image via Jamie Davis Smith

Being with you is the secret sauce, and keeping it simple helps them cope. The rest is just filler, so don't worry too much about how or what you are playing. As long as you are together!

{ MORE: Pregnancy Is Opening One Female CEO's Eyes to How Hard Parenting Can Be }

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How Exactly Do You Play With a Baby? See What the Doctor Says

Jamie is a Beltway Insider who loves channeling her pre-motherhood love of traveling into spending time exploring all D.C. has to offer with her brood of two girls and two boys ages 9, 7,5, and a baby. She is a reformed lawyer turned full-time kid wrangler who enjoys photographing her everyday chaos and anything salted caramel. Since life is never dull, she loves writing about the issues and events going on in her life at any given time, including caring for a daughter with special needs and th ... More

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3 comments

  1. sayhola says:

    Help! I work with a family that would benefit from this article and I’m trying to print it for them. When I click the print icon, it’s all messy with layers and layers of text. Help! Thanks! ~michelle 🙂

    • Megan Klay says:

      We’re looking into this! Thank you for bringing the issue to our attention. In the interim, maybe you can copy the text of each slide into a Word document? I’ll let you know what I find out!

    • Tatianna says:

      You could try another browser or go through each slide and copy and paste the photos and article paragraphs to Word and print from there. Hope that helps!

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