Congratulations, you did it! You made it through nine months of swollen ankles, morning (afternoon and evening) sickness, back pains and heartburn. You made it through the roller coaster of childbirth. And now you’re home. You have this new human that depends on you to survive, learn, grow, socialize, everything. For weeks he can’t even hold his own head up…how are you supposed to bond with him? That first year is hard with a new baby – finding activities they’d actually be able to participate in and enjoy is hard. So here are a few easy and fun activities to do with your kids before their 1st birthday!
1. Peek-a-Boo. We all know this game, it’s a classic. You hide your face behind your hands, or sneak around the corner, then you POP out and go “Peek-a-Boo!!”. Your child giggles and smiles and his day is made. This simple game is a great activity to pass the time! It helps teach your child face recognition and attach positive feelings with his playmate.
2. Reading Time. It is never too early to start reading to your little one! Books with lots of color and big pictures are great, but any reading helps. There’s been extensive research conducted that shows just how impactful reading with your children can be, later down the road. So start to read, it’s an excellent bonding opportunity!
3. Sign Language. How fancy and proud will you be when your child is speaking fluent sign language at 11 months old?! Well, if you and your kiddo can achieve that, awesome! But that’s not exactly what I’m getting at with “sign language”. Teaching your children how to communicate with his hands before he can talk is so much fun! Whether it’s a cute little wave for “hi” and “bye”, or the classic hands together motion for “more”, or even just a simple high-five. Any hand motion you can teach your little one is a fun and helpful way to have babies communicate before they’re really talking.
4. Dance Party. Are you ever too old for a dance party? No. So are you ever to young for a dance party? Nope! Turn up the music, open the windows, and lift your baby up in the sky and dance the day away! Actually, maybe just a few songs worth to avoid too much potential vomit on your hoodie. Dancing and singing along to some hits is a great activity, no matter who you’re with. Sharing this time with your child is bound to create numerous giggles and lots of big toothless smiles! Bouncing, swinging, throwing up in the air and dipping way down low, all great motion moves to make baby light up! An instant mood booster for all parties.
5. Cuddle. You hear it all the time, from day one of announcing your pregnancy, to the day you give birth, and every milestone you post; “Cherish every moment, because the time flies by! ”. And you smile and think ‘of course I will’ and move on. But really. The time does go by so fast. Regarding cuddling and codling, my pediatrician once told me, “you can never spoil a newborn; you can spoil a 6-month-old, but not a newborn”. I took this to heart, I made sure to hold my baby girl every moment I could and fully embrace my time with her. I don’t want to look back and think ‘I wish I spent more time holding her when she was little’. So my biggest suggestion here is to take the time to cuddle. And if you’re baby maybe isn’t as into physical contact and close corners cuddling; simply spend time near your baby, caressing their arms and talking soothingly to them. Make it a daily bonding routine – it’s important, and it matters!
Simple enough? None of these activities take much energy, supplies, or even time. They just take the desire to connect with your child! When you choose to make your baby a priority and actively work on bonding and playing with him – the results will speak for themselves. So live it up, soak in every single second together while they’re this little, savor every goofy laugh and silly smile. Simply hold them tight and love them hard, and you’ve done a job well done! Go, Mama!
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