As babies hit the second half of their first year of life they become more active and start having longer awake times. This includes a larger chunk of time in the evenings where they are often fussier and need to be entertained to avoid meltdowns.
Babies are cute. They are sweet. But man it can be hard to think of ways to play and interact with a baby! How do you fill the awake time hours? Here are several ways you can play with your 8-12 month old baby:
Active Playtime Together
Actively playing together is not only a great way to bond with your baby but it also helps them to burn up that energy and be more sleepy for bedtime.
For indoor activities you can roll a ball back and forth with your baby, bounce them on your knee, tickle them, play "airplane," or utilize indoor active toys like a jumper or walker.
It is also great to get your baby outside. Breathing in that fresh air and being exposed to vitamin d are both great health benefits of playing outside together. Go on a walk, swing them in a swing, lay down a blanket and take the indoor toys outside!
Anything that gets your baby moving and interacting is perfect for active playtime. This is a great chance to practice hand eye coordination skills and check on other developmental milestones.
Just as active play is valuable for your baby, so is restful play. Learning to sit still, listen, and pay attention are all valuable skills.
Sitting with your baby and reading a book together is a great bonding activity that encourages a love of reading from an early age. At the 8-12 month range babies love touch and feel books where they can explore a variety of textures while listening to the story.
Reading together is a great activity to work into your regular daily routine. It's especially great to do before bedtime as a way to calm down and prepare for night time sleep.
If your baby has older siblings, it's important to provide a safe space and an allotted time for the siblings to play together.
Having your children play together in baby's room is usually the best bet as this area is free from any small toys that could pose as a choking hazard. Even older children enjoy pulling out baby toys when it means getting big smiles from their little brother or sister!
Encourage your children to play together. Sibling bonds are valuable and important and by building those bonds from birth you're ensuring they will be lifelong friends.
by Annie Wiesman
Even the most extroverted people need a little alone time. I would never have thought that was true until after I had a child, at which point I craved time to myself like I craved air. But building independent play...
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Independent Play for Baby
Yes, spending quality time with your baby is important, but let's be real. Moms also have a TON to get done. Dinner can't cook itself!
This is where independent play comes in. Independent play is allowing your child to play on their own without anyone entertaining them. This can be done multiple times a day and is a great opportunity for Mom to get things done as well as spend quality time with older children.
You can see how to establish independent playtime for your baby here.
If you have an older child and want to start encouraging independent play you can read this post on starting it late (with a toddler or preschooler).
Incorporating a variety of types of play with your baby will give you many options for bonding and fun together! Whether inside, outside, active, restful, sibling or independently playing every day with an 8-12 month old is filled with joy and adventure.
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