The Right to Play: Strengthen Bonds & Spark Little Triumphs

The Right to Play: Strengthen Bonds & Spark Little Triumphs

Charlotte Torris
Is it bad to wake a sleeping baby to feed him? Can I spoil my baby by holding him too much? When do I introduce solid foods? How long before she sleeps through the night? Is there such a thing as too much tummy-time?
Being a new parent is full of so many decisions and questions about the “big stuff” that sometimes it is difficult to step back and ask questions like how do I extend that newborn bond with my baby as he grows, when do I introduce toys and books to my baby, when and how do I start to play with my baby—is it even important to play?
While we all recognize food, sleep, safety and love as basic needs, play needs to make its way onto that short list - and early on in infancy. Babies thrive in close, consistent interaction with their parents. A baby’s most important teachers are parents, family and caregivers, and often that happens through play. In fact, play is such an important part of child development that The United Nations High Commissioner on Child Rights includes time to play as a right for every child.


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Play is how children learn and explore the world around them, and even though it may seem like your newborn isn’t ready to “learn or explore” much beyond their next feeding, every hour of every day your little one is growing, absorbing and discovering more about themselves and their world.

Play can spark little triumphs - from learning how to focus, track images and explore faces to developing auditory, gross and fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and even learning self-soothing techniques - but most importantly play can do all this AND strengthen the bond between parent/caregiver and baby in a natural, meaningful way. It isn’t about “teaching” your baby things.

Play is about exploring colors, sounds and textures together, laughing, smiling and relishing the joy of being part of the “firsts” that can happen when you are engaged in something as pure and simple as play.

Introducing toys and books may seem like something that can wait until later, but making sure you have the right mix of playthings for the right time should be on the “getting ready for baby” checklist. Relying on a trusted brand such as Lamaze, where every toy and book is created in conjunction with child development experts to promote healthy development through play, helps ensure your new parent tool kit (and toy box!) is stocked and at the ready.

So that along with all the work of being a new parent, you are able to embrace and enjoy play. Not only because it is “good” for your baby, but because it is fun. Long after you’ve forgotten how old your baby was when she lost her first tooth or exactly what day he slept through the night, you will remember the way he loved peek-a-boo books or how excited she got when she sorted the shapes just right.

Play will be part of the most joyful memories of new (or experienced!) parenthood, which is why every day should have some play built into it.


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