How to Entertain a Newborn: 15 Play Ideas for Newborn Babies
The importance of playing with your newborn baby can’t be overemphasized. Through play, your little one learns about the world around him or her and how to interact with it. So how do you entertain a newborn? Glad you asked! In this article, we’ll go over several easy ways how to entertain a newborn child. We’ll also explain why it’s important for parents to play with their child, and much more.
Playing with your child increases the bond you have with your baby as they grow. So it’s imperative to know how to entertain a newborn and keep them happy and active. Let’s get started!
Why Parents Should Play With Their Newborn Babies
The word “newborn” refers to the earliest stage of a baby’s life, usually from birth to about three months old. There are many reasons as to why it’s vital to play with your baby to keep them entertained at this age. This includes:
- Building muscle strength along with gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and working memory
- Encouraging your baby to interact, talk, and understand words
- Helping you get to know your newborn more
- Allowing your newborn’s brain to develop and grow
- Making them feel loved, safe, and secure
- Regulating your baby’s emotions
- Increasing their creativity
As a bonus, you, too, as the parent, sibling, or caretaker, receive benefits from playing and entertaining your newborn. Whenever you play with your baby, the hormone oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone” or the “cuddle hormone,” is released.
Oxytocin has a positive impact on mood and emotions. This is why playing with your newborn is oftentimes relaxing, fun, and makes you feel good!
Best Ways to Entertain Your Newborn Baby
If you’re not sure how to keep your baby entertained, don’t worry! We’re here to help you with just that.
Understandably, some people feel bit awkward or silly when playing with babies. After all, most of it includes playing pretend, engaging in childlike physical behavior, and back-and-forth conversations in baby talk.
The good news is that babies are easy to engage with. Most of the time, they don’t even need new toys or anything grand to keep them from getting bored.
Here are some other great ways to keep your newborn entertained:
How to Entertain a Newborn: Talk to Your Newborn
Talk to your newborn and wait for them to respond. It might take a while, but once they realize you want them to reply back, you’ll be surprised at how much your newborn has to say! Remember to take turns in listening and responding.
You can also read with your baby. It’s never too early to start! Babies can’t read, but the visuals in children’s books grab their attention. While doing so, keep the book close as babies can only see about 8 to 12 inches in front of them.
Don’t forget to play games with your precious one. For example, pretend to ‘answer’ the telephone using your baby’s foot. Say something along the lines of, “ring, ring, is that my baby calling?” and have a chat with them on the ‘phone.’ This helps significantly with speech development.
How to Entertain a Newborn: Sing to Your Child
Babies love nursery rhymes, so you can either sing a nursery song you know or play a song in the background. Remember to engage in physical touch while they’re listening to the song, hold their hands, walk your fingers along their skin, pop their nose, etc.
Stimulate Your Newborn’s Senses
There are many ways to stimulate your baby’s senses. Here are some tips I strongly recommend:
First and foremost, you can tickle your baby, count their toes, or blow raspberries. These moves are simple but effective!
Another great way to keep them entertained is to hand your newborn different textured objects to play with and feel, such as soft toys, rattles, or colorful children’s books. This will help them learn how to use their senses.
Folding clothes while you’re close to your baby can stimulate his or her senses, as well. While doing so, you engage in conversation like, “Look, it’s mommy’s yellow shirt! Feel how soft it is!”
Make silly expressions for your infant to study, learn, and imitate. Give them a smile, stick out your tongue, make kissy faces, raise your eyebrows, etc. You can add little quiet ahhh or ehhh noises with it. This helps your baby’s social, visual, and emotional development. It’s a great way to entertain a newborn.
How about a classic game of peekaboo? You can use your hands or a piece of cloth to cover your face. Doing silly expressions whenever you reveal your face will teach them about object permanence, the idea that even though they can’t see something, like your smiling face, for example, it still exists.
Another game I always play with my baby is “Follow the Light.” Shine a not-too-bright torch on the ceiling and around the room. Make up a story on the item it lands on. Your baby will enjoy following the light with their eyes while learning about their environment.
Put on soothing music while carrying your baby, and gently sway to the tune. You can also place him or her on your lap and watch baby videos with them, preferably something with a lot of colorful characters, songs, and movement.
Massage Your Newborn
Give your baby a full body massage. Not only will it keep them entertained, but it’s also a great way to improve their sleep and reduce crying and irritability. Furthermore, it may alleviate gas and other symptoms associated with colic.
Don’t Forget Tummy Time
To strengthen your newborn’s neck and shoulders, let your baby spend some time awake on his or her tummy. Newborns can easily get tired or frustrated during this position, so make sure to always supervise them during tummy time. Tummy time is another great way to entertain a newborn.
Tips to Keep in Mind While Entertaining Your Newborn
While playing with your baby, you want everything to be perfect. Here are five things that you should keep in mind:
Some parents feel a bit silly if their baby doesn’t respond to playtime. They’d be discouraged and sometimes even give up. But when it comes to babies, you need to extend your patience as much as you can.
Remember, your baby loves and trusts you. Opening your heart and actively trying to practice patience can make a world of difference.
Trying to squeeze in playtime while checking Facebook, watching TV, or talking to a friend on the phone won’t work effectively. Your baby needs your full attention, and if you’re not focused on them alone, they may not respond.
When you give your full attention to your baby, it’ll be easier for you to understand what he or she wants. After all, each baby is different. We all have different ways in which we feel things, and babies are the same. Doing so will also allow you to notice your baby’s subtle signals and make sure they aren’t overwhelmed and overstimulated.
During the first few months of your baby’s infancy, keep playing gentle and quiet. Newborns especially don’t take well to loud things, and they can easily startle and upset.
Sometimes, it’s easier to stick to the tried-and-tested games you’ve previously played with your baby. Regardless, try to think of new ways to keep them entertained. Add some variety to your games!
Don’t be afraid to play with your baby even if they’re only a few weeks old. During this brief time, it seems that all a newborn ever does is eat, have their nappy changed, and go back to sleep. But remember, there is always room for play.
For example, play the ‘airplane game’ while feeding your baby, sing a song while changing their nappy, and put on some gentle music while cuddling with them until they fall asleep.
It’s the little things that count. Interaction of any kind allows your baby to learn and grow.
Enjoy yourself while playing with your baby. Keep in mind that you’re not only entertaining your newborn; you’re entertaining yourself as well.
If you’re not having fun, your baby will understand and stop responding. Alison Gopnik, the author of The Philosophical Baby, says, “By the time newborns are just a few months old, they recognize the difference between a happy expression and a sad one.”
They can sense your emotions, and not only that, they actively care about them, too. So remember, playtime isn’t playtime if you’re not having fun!
Remember to Take a Break
Taking a break isn’t only beneficial to you, but to your baby as well. Infants need a balance of stimulation and quiet time to process their environment. Therefore, you don’t have to always be “hands-on” while your newborn is awake.
If your baby is awake and content, playing with the rattle you’ve given him or her, it’s perfectly fine to leave them in their crib while you watch from afar.
Keeping your baby entertained is essential for their growth. Whenever you spend time with him or her, your baby is happy. Even small things such as singing nursery rhymes, making funny faces, or holding your baby’s hand help keep them engaged and entertained. we hope this article gave you some additional ways to entertain your newborn!
Having a baby is a huge life challenge, but with these new tools you should be able to raise your kid a little bit easier. You don’t even need fancy toys or equipment. Everything you need is right there in your home: you!