Most parents want to know what they can do to help their baby be as clever as possible. Genetics, environment, personality and temperament all play a role.
But getting on the floor and channelling your own inner child is one of the best ways to stimulate your baby’s brain development.
Ways to Play
There really are no rules when it comes to playing with your baby. What’s important is that you both have fun and don’t stress.
- Be sensitive to the cues and signals from your little one. Taking turns (reciprocal play) is a great way to support development.
- Floor time is essential. It helps to build upper body strength and balance skills.
- Read books and stories, sing nursery rhymes and make up games. In fact reading anything is helpful – but colourful pictures grab their attention.
- Older kids love outdoor play – running, jumping, swinging and climbing.
- Have an interesting household and yard. Mess can mean fun.
- Kick, roll and throw balls to each other.
- Balance active play with quieter activities.
- Give your child the opportunity to take the lead when you are playing together. Teach them how to wait, take turns and share.
- Make sure they meet and spend time with other people. Learning how to be a social human takes many hours.
- Buy, make, share and borrow age appropriate toys and equipment.
- Investigate toy libraries and swap with friends.
- Be creative – not every activity needs to be structured. Give them some time alone – bored kids learn how to be creative.
- Cook together and create something delicious.
- Sometimes it’s fine to just sit on the couch and veg out. Not every moment needs to be stimulating.
- Don’t compare your baby with others of the same age. Every baby is an individual.
- Look after yourself and your relationship with your partner. Exhausted parents have little patience for games.