Being at home all day every day with a baby that can’t react to all your dancing and will not appreciate all your salt dough hand and footprints works of art, can’t move much, and can’t even concentrate on any activity for very long can be pretty hard work especially in their early months of life when they are giving very little or nothing all back to you.
The truth is, filling every moment of your baby’s life until bedtime can sometimes feel like scaling a mountain, with some of these days feeling mundane with grumpy minutes one moment and magical the next minute with momentous milestone activities.
Some experts recommend baby groups with friends that have had babies at a similar time, but can you spend all day every day with them?
Plus, if your baby hasn’t yet gotten her sleep rhythm right and you are suffering from sleep deprivation, the last thing you’d want is to plaster on makeup and face a group of people.
Here you are, you’ve tried tummy time that probably ended in crying after 30 seconds. You already sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars 40 times.
You can sing it no more, and you’ve walked your baby around the kitchen, showing and counting all the utensils after waving all their toys on their face. So what else is left to do?
For creating more of the magic and less of the mundane, we’ve put together our list of sensory activities and things for you to do with your baby at home that perhaps you hadn’t thought of before.
Helpful tips on what to do with your baby all-day
Here are a few activities you can engage in the whole day with your baby while creating a foundation of love and trust between you, one that will inform your future interactions, help you set your parenting compass, and provide a basis for the way your little one will relate to the larger world in the future.
1. Give your baby a massage
Even though there are plenty of baby massage groups around that you can go to, there’s no need to confine your baby’s massage to a class.
Make Youtube your friend and get down to some wonderful bonding time together.
2. Blow bubbles and let your baby pop them
Do you want a perfect jigsaw? Then it’s bubbles and babies. They go together. Blow bubbles past your baby’s face and watch as they become excited, trying to pop them mid-air.
3. Play peek a boo
Babies are surprised and delighted time and again by this simple game because they don’t have the same concept as older children that you are still there even though you are hidden.
Playing peek-a-boo is guaranteed to bring out the beaming gummy grins and giggles.
4. Sing nursery rhymes
Uncover some old favorites such a the Wheels on the Bus and Baa Baa Black Sheep, and get going with the action.
You don’t have to be X-Factor worthy, and your baby will just love you even if you can’t sing in tune. They just delight in hearing your voice.
5. Kick a balloon
This is perhaps all baby’s favorite activity that isn’t an old classic, and they love to do it with joy from being in control of their source of entertainment.
Loosely tie a string around their ankle with the balloon a couple of feet above. Just be sure to always keep an eye on them after doing this. The kicks and giggles will warm your heart.
6. Make and play with sensory bottles
If you want to come home with your wallet considerably lighter, then pop down to the high street in search of baby toys.
However, many wonderful baby toys can be made at home, including sensory bottles to keep your little human entertained.
7. Take a bath
Do all baths have to be at bedtime? Says who? If Your baby loves her bath and you know it gives her a calming effect, then use it at other points when the baby gets fussy.
Some splashing and a change of scene can do wonders for everyone’s mood.
8. Have fun with cardboard boxes
Well, the cardboard is not to store them away until the day that they aren’t teething or their colic has subsided.
No, the cardboard you got from a supplies delivery is a ready-made plaything that will make your baby’s day. Pop them in there with their favorite toys and watch them have fun as you enjoy your hot chocolate.
9. Read a book to your little one
Babies particularly love board books with lots of different colors and textures that they can touch, feel, and see, and soon, they will have their favorites with palpable anticipation when you pull them out.
10. Blow raspberries
As they grow, you’ll tell them not to blow raspberries, but for now, nuzzle down to their soft tummies and blow raspberries. They will giggle and squeal, and soon enough, they will be doing it themselves with great joy.
11. Go for a walk
Depending on your baby’s age and the current weather, taking your little one for a walk can be a great change of scenery for you and your little one. Getting some fresh air outside, seeing and hearing the birds, and saying hello to those walking by is a fun refresher for both you and your little one.
You can put your baby in the stroller if you’d like to get a brisk walk in and do some cardio, or hold your infant/toddler’s hands and teach them how to take a few steps.
If you have a much younger baby, instead of teaching them to walk, you can help them with tummy time or teach them to sit up.
Getting out is always a great way to de-stress and hopefully get some Vitamin D on a sunny day.
How do I play with my newborn?
Stick your tongue out, smile, and make other visible expressions for your newborn baby to study, emulate and learn from.
You can also hold a favorite toy in your newborn’s face for them to focus on or follow or shake a rattle for them to follow.
Playing is how infants learn to socialize and communicate, and they will learn by interacting with you. Let your baby also spend time on their tummy when awake to help them strengthen their necks and shoulders.
You can’t be a cartoon character that comes to life for your baby in all her waking hours. It is exhausting and not the measure of a great mother, the same way it doesn’t make you a negligent parent to let them entertain themselves for a little while.
It is entirely acceptable to put these little ones on their playmats to have a kick around while you sit back and watch Netflix because if you give your body and brain a little space to rest throughout the day, you will be a better and more enthusiastic parent.