Note to parents: Feel free to read this post aloud to your child.
This article has been written especially for kids who have recently become a big brother or big sister! So if you have a baby sister or brother who is between 3 and 8 months, here are some ideas and thoughts about how you can play together.
First of all, did you know that babies love to play? It may look different than your play as a big kid, but when they are not sleeping or eating or being cuddled, babies are mostly playing!
Sometimes babies like to play on their own. They like to:
– Make noises and listen to their own voices
– Chew on their hands
– Play with their feet
– Move their bodies… like kick their legs and wave their arms
– Watch and listen to everything going on around them
Babies learn through play. They are practicing lots of new skills and exercising their muscles, too!
Once you see your baby sister or brother engage with you by looking at you or making noises, it’s a great time to play together!
How to Play with a Baby
– Let them reach out to grab your fingers or touch your face
– Play peek-a-boo
– Sing to them
– Talk to them and ask them questions (be sure to give them time to “respond” with their eyes and/or voice, the same way you would wait for another child to give an answer with words)
– Give them gentle massages with the help of a grown-up
– Read them a book (or tell them a story)
Once babies have learned to grab onto things with their hands, they will start to enjoy playing with baby toys.
It is important to check with a grown-up before you give a baby a new toy. We have to make sure the toy is safe for the baby to put in his or her mouth, since this is nearly always what babies do with toys! We don’t want the toy to be so small that the baby can accidentally swallow it, or too heavy that it may hurt them.
If you would like to use something that your baby sister or brother is playing with, don’t forget to ask before you take it. Babies cannot talk but they still have feelings and we should not take anything from them before checking if it is okay first.
You can look at their face and listen to their voice to find out what their answer is. This is the way babies communicate before they learn how to say words.
All babies have different temperaments and like to do different things. They are different to each other just like big kids and grown-ups. You can watch their reactions to see what they enjoy and what they don’t enjoy.
If they are smiling and laughing, they are telling you that they like what you are doing! If they keep turning their head away or start to cry, it is probably best to change the game you are playing.
Some babies may not enjoy a certain activity when you first try it, but may love it a few months later. They might like:
– To be hugged and kissed
– To be tickled
– Watching you make funny faces
– Listening to funny noises
Eventually a baby learns to move on their own! They may roll or crawl.
This is a very exciting time for a baby! Parents and older siblings can keep the baby safe by making sure there are no small objects on the floor that the baby might put in their mouth and choke on. It is important to watch out for babies and if you ever think they are about to get hurt, tell a grown-up straight away!
Sometimes when you are playing with a baby, he or she might start crying. You might ask yourself:
Did I do something to hurt the baby?
Did I do something that scared the baby?
If your answer is “no” then it’s probably time for your parents to feed the baby or change his or her nappy. Or the baby may be sleepy and might need to nap!
Crying is how babies communicate to us that something is wrong. They are not trying to annoy you or cannot help being loud. If the noise gets to be too much, you can take a little break by going to a different room.
It can be a lot of fun playing with a baby sister or a baby brother, and they are going to learn so much from you. Every day they are watching what you do – like eat, run, talk, and jump – and will soon want to copy you!
If you have other ideas for ways you can play with your baby sister or baby brother, please share your idea below for other children to read!
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