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Babysitting Games, Toys and Activities for Infants (0-6 Months) Checklist
If you are babysitting a child especially an infant, it is important that you get acquainted with babysitting games, toys and activities that you can do with them. Most babysitters of infants would just probably be feeding, cleaning and putting the baby to sleep in the early months. But as the baby grows, waking hours can be spent having some fun and learning at the same time.
Doing some babysitting games and activities can address the physical, social, emotional and developmental needs of the baby. This is something that the parents would surely appreciate if you can do it with their children. It would also differentiate you from the rest of the babysitters as someone who can do more than just prepare the milk, change diapers and lull the baby to sleep.
Children from different age groups have varying preferences for toys and games, as well as in the activities they can do. In this hub, I would like to provide a partial checklist of age-appropriate babysitting games, toys and activities which can help in the growth and development of infants aged 0-6 months.
Checklist of Babysitting Games, Toys and Activities for 0-6 Months Old Infants
Young babies have very little movement. At this age, toys, games and activities that stimulate his senses will be most interesting to him. Also, when the senses are stimulated, the pathways to each part of the brain are opened up. This has an impact later on on the child's speech, locomotion and mental abilities. Just be sure to use and do the following when the baby is in a relaxed mood.
- Soft toys in bright colors that can be touched and squeezed. Choose the washable and colorfast ones to be sure they’re safe even when the baby puts them in his mouth.
- Noise toys. An example is the rattle which is ideal for the baby as he learns to grasp objects during the first six months. Another example is the squeaky toys.
- Books with big, colorful pictures. Show the baby the pictures and say the names while seated on your lap. These stimulate the visual senses and builds upon the vocabulary skills of the baby.
- Mobiles with bright primary colors or black and white contrasts. After sucking, the baby explores his environment. Having a mobile hung on the left or right side of the crib stimulates the baby visually. You can also hang an unbreakable mirror so he could see his moving reflection.
- Play a soothing lullaby or a livelier tune while you bounce him on your lap. Songs encourage early speech by helping build up vocabulary.
- The “Peek-a-boo” game. Babies just like this and sometimes you hear them laughing out loud. It helps them develop an early sense of humor.
- The “Tickling Monster" game. This is done while the baby is lying on his back. Then, you kneel beside him and say “Here it comes, here it comes” while holding your hand above his face where he can see it, wriggling the fingers, drawing it closer and closer to tickle the baby. While tickling, laugh with the baby. This helps the child to learn the spirit of cooperation in play while having fun. I, honestly, like doing this game with my children when they were small. Well, until now.
- Rocking and bouncing. Research says that rocking helps the baby stimulate the vestibular system which is responsible for the control of coordination and balance. This mechanism is responsible for the child’s learning to walk, run and ride a bike later in his life. A variation of rocking is the Elevator Move. To do this, carry the baby facing you and then bend your knees 5 or 10 times.
- Aeroplane spins. Do this at around the 4th month of the baby. It is one activity they like and it helps develop balance.
- Reflex stepping. This can be done as early as 2 weeks after birth. Hold the baby underneath his arms, then let him do walking movements on the flat surface. This helps the child to learn walking early. One test showed that 5 out of 6 children who did reflex stepping between 2-8 weeks were walking at 10 months.
There goes 10 things you can use and do when babysitting infants 0-6 months old. Whether you are a mom, dad or a babysitter, I hope you would have a more fun and fruitful time with the baby under your care.
© 2011 Chin chin