From a smile to abundant laughter – a happy baby makes for a happy mommy too. But all too often we get caught up in the mundane, forgetting to have fun with our children. Having fun with baby will reinforce your bond, stimulate brain activity and instantly lift your moods. So, it is good to always have a few tricks up your sleeve…
Keeping it fresh?
According to Jill Stamm, Ph.D., author of Bright From the Start, your baby will be thrilled to know exactly what will happen next. She says the regular nap schedule, nightly cuddle or singing “You are my sunshine” for the hundredth time, will keep baby content.
New York paediatrician Dr Natalie Geary says babies like to see, do and hear the same things so they can feel less anxious and can anticipate the pleasurable experience. She says that repetitively smiling and acting delighted while playing a song or game will teach your baby to enjoy it too.
Good ol’ favourites
“Peek-a-boo, I see you!” is one of those games that will probably send your baby into shrieks of laughter and will keep them asking for more. Whether you are hiding behind your hands, the sofa or the closest blanket or towel – it is guaranteed to elicit some reaction.
Pretending to be a big monster gobbling up that foot, hand or neck can set off hysterical notes. Open your mouth wide and make gobbling noises and nibble very softly. Children as old as two years often still enjoy this game.
Don’t forget about “Tummy tinkles”. Blow soft kisses on your baby’s tummy or hands and feet, especially while changing a diaper or dressing. Younger babies are exceptionally susceptible to this game.
Toys do bring joy. Get that brightly coloured bear or giraffe to sing a song while floating in front of your baby’s face, or let bunny mock-eat baby’s toes. The soft fabric and bright colours will stimulate your child and entertain at the same time.
The older your baby gets, the more they will notice funny faces and body movements. Exaggerate movements, or do silly things like putting your baby’s hat on your head or the mittens on your ears. Make larger than life faces and express utter joy.
A lot of babies are crazy about animals. Bringing a pet into the mix can stir things up a bit. Many a child will giggle while trying to touch or hug a furry dog, or not-so-accommodating cat.
Bubbles will most likely mesmerise your little one. The soothing and rhythmic flow of blowing bubbles will have them chuckling, reaching out or staring at them for long periods of time.
Few things are funnier than to hear mommy do “The sneeze”. Throw your head back and make an increasingly loud noise saying “aaaaaaaaaaa-tissue”. In the same way, the exaggerated cough or laugh can really set off a fit of laughter. The same applies to animal sounds – really any odd and playful sound coming from your mouth.
Do not underestimate the power of a repeated song, even though you have heard it ten times, stick it out for just a little longer. Songs should become part of your baby’s routine, as Dr Geary puts it, “Repetition is the key to bonding.”
If all the above resources have been tapped, you can always fall back on the good old faithful tickle. Remember, your baby is an individual and different things will appeal to different babies. Find out what your baby likes.