Infants often learn about the world and make sense of their surroundings through play. Playing with your newborn is also a great way to connect with them and help them feel safe and nurtured. Often, some of the most meaningful ways to interact and play with your baby are things that parents tend to do instinctively, regardless of prior experience. However, not all new mothers or fathers know how to play. Examples of "play" with a newborn include:
Talking to your baby: Around three months of age, infants can visually focus on objects and benefit from talking to them during daily occupations such as feeding and bathing.
Holding your baby: Infants can feel safe and comfortable when held, which helps develop a bond between you and your baby.
Dancing with your baby: Infants can respond to sound, and dancing with your baby is an excellent way to get in some tummy time.
Providing things for your baby to look at: Within the first year, babies develop the skills to coordinate eye movement. They often enjoy highly-contrasting colours and react positively to the sensory experience in a baby gym.
Learning from touch: Babies learn about their environment primarily through the sense of touch. Offer a variety of fabrics, toys, and other age-appropriate items for your infant to touch.
Occupational therapy for infants uses play as the child's primary occupation, and occupational therapists working with pediatric populations are experts in play. If you have play concerns, ask your physician or other healthcare professionals, how you can contact an occupational therapist.