A year ago, heck, 4 months ago, I would have no answer to the question:
“How do you entertain a baby?”
Maybe I would have answered, ‘Why do babies need to be entertained? Do they lead such stressful lives that entertainment is needed so they can relax?’
Now I know that Yes, babies need to be entertained!
As Griffin grows, his interests and his abilities change nearly every day. Each day he looks at something differently, his motor skills are developing, and what he finds boring alters. Some days simply making funny faces with funny voices will make him laugh (as much as a 4 month old can laugh). The next day, those faces/voices elicit blank stares. A favorite crinkly toy Lion is the best thing ever on Tuesday. By Thursday, he won’t touch it, only to turn around on Saturday and love the Lion once again! I have learned to keep a plethora of items around and ‘activities’ ready to go so The Boy can thoroughly enjoy his day.
Here are some things I’ve learned about what entertains a baby at home:
– The play-mat. I can put him on this mat on his back and he can reach for the plush animals dangling above him. He can kick his feet and even do a very slow ‘Curly-Shuffle’.
– Belly Time! On the same mat he can go on his belly and this builds up his strength in his neck/back
– Having him ‘stand’ on my lap, while I’m holding him up, and shifting him gently back and forth while singing the ‘Griffin moves back & forth and up & down and near & far’ song while he laughs and drools everywhere!
– READ BOOKS! There are certain books he really enjoys looking at. Anything colorful with lots of contrasts he’ll enjoy. He’s starting to grab the pages and ‘help’ me turn the pages too!
– Reading to him. Sometimes I’ll read to him news articles, the current book I’m reading, or St. Louis Cardinal articles. He likes watching my lips move. It’s pretty cool!
– I can prop The Boy up in a chair and actually get 15-20 minutes of trombone practicing in. The horns are shiny and make cool sounds, so he just stares in uncomprehending awe! (at least that’s how I’m interpreting his expressions!)
– Dancing to records. After engaging his brain and body in activities he starts getting tired so on goes the record! Currently, he’s digging the Johnny Hodges album, Triple Play. By about the third tune, he’s fast asleep and off to bed with him!
At this point in the morning, I can maybe shower, do some laundry, read something, watch some TV, or nap with him! When he wakes up, the process starts all over again.
This schedule can be somewhat tedious, repetitive, sometimes exhausting, but always rewarding! As his fine motor skills and attention/recognition abilities develop, we’ll discover new ways to be entertained and have fun! (Of course, when the temperature starts moving up, we’ll be able to get OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE!!!!!!!!)
What have been successful activities you’ve used to entertain a baby?