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7 playtime dos and don’ts

You’re never too young (or old!) for playing. Here are some ways you can both enjoy fun-filled, safe, and stimulating daily activities that set your baby up for an active, healthy life.  

4 mins to read Dec 29, 2021

[ü] Do... give them lots of stimulation and activity during the day

Whether they’re reaching out for your face, wriggling while you sing a song, or smiling at a noisy toy, stimulation and movement are important. And remember that the more activity and stimulation they get during the day, the more they may sleep at night.

[û] Don’t... ever leave your baby unsupervised

Never leave your baby alone while they’re playing, even for a moment. Always keep them in your sight to make sure they’re safe.

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[ü] Do... give her plenty of space 

You don’t need to send your baby to an exercise class or outside programs to be sure they get the daily activity they need. All they need is a bit of space to freely move their arms and legs while they’re on their back. This (along with tummy time) will help build the muscles and motor skills they need for future sitting and crawling. 

[û] Don’t... use infant seats or bouncers for long periods of time 

If you do use infant swing seats or bouncers, limit the amount of time your baby spends in them. They need space to wriggle, kick, and move around for healthy development. 

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[ü] Do... provide daily tummy time for play 

Spending time on their tummy can help your little one build strong muscles and develop the motor skills they’ll need to eventually sit up, eat solid food, and crawl. Daily tummy time can also help prevent a flattening of the back their head – a condition related to a baby being on their back for extended periods of time during the first few months. 

[û] Don’t... put your baby to sleep on her tummy 

For safety reasons, babies should always sleep on their backs. This will reduce your baby’s risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). 

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[ü] Do.... keep your baby within arm’s reach 

As well as constantly watching your baby, make sure they’re not able to slip or fall off high surfaces such as their changing table. If they’re on a high surface and you need to fetch something, such as a diaper, carry them with you or place them on the floor (still in sight). 

[û] Don’t.... let her play near dangerous objects 

They may not be able to crawl yet, but babies have an uncanny ability to seek out danger in a room. Check carefully that there is nothing within their reach that could be hazardous. 

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[ü] Do.... play several times a day, every day 

Brief and often is the key to happy playtimes. You may find they’re only engaged in playing for a short while, but don’t give up and think it’s over for today. They might be in the mood for another brief playtime after a feeding, nap, rest, or diaper change. 

[û] Don’t... continue playtime when she’s tired or hungry 

Playtime can happen at any time of the day and last as long as they’re interested. Don’t set aside a block of time for ‘play’ and expect them to always engage and stay interested. If they’re getting fussy, they might be tired or hungry so let them set the pace. 

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[ü] Do... interact to get your baby moving 

What makes your baby giggle, squeal, and wave their arms and legs in delight? Whether it’s peekaboo or gentle tickling, do something that makes your baby move. 

[û] Don’t... worry about looking silly (it’s all part of the fun) 

It might not come naturally at first but making funny faces or singing silly songs is all part of the joy of being a parent. You’re enjoying precious playtime and helping your baby’s healthy development too. 

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[ü] Do... go outside 

When the weather is nice, find a shady spot to lay your baby down on a blanket so they can feel the breeze and hear outdoor sounds. They may enjoy looking around at all the new things in this different environment. 

[û] Don’t... lie in the sun 

If you do go outside on a sunny day, keep your baby in the shade. Babies’ skin is more sensitive than ours. A hat will help protect their face but remember that the sun’s rays can reach your baby even on a cloudy day. If you’re unsure, ask your healthcare provider for advice on staying safe in the sun. 

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