Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Focusing your attention on the important things

My son is six now, but I vividly remember the oh-so-brief period when he was a baby. He would sit on the floor with toys scattered all around him and either his Daddy or I would be on the floor nearby, watching him play and sometimes joining in to help him with his blocks or trucks. I never wondered if we were playing with our son in the "right" way or even if there was a "right" way to play with him.

But, apparently, there is.

Through numerous observations, researchers have found that this is the way that parent's should play with their babies:
  • Be nearby
  • Let the baby choose the toy
  • Interact with the baby and the toy
  • After the direct interaction, let the baby continue to play with the toy on her own, but stay focused on your child's play
What does all this accomplish? Babies who take the lead in picking a toy tend to have longer attention spans. Instructive play in which a parent chooses a toy and explains it to the baby doesn't have the same effect. And parents staying focused on the baby after the interaction (instead of looking at a phone or walking away) also increases attention span and concentration skills overall.

Who knew that play could be so important?

The caveat to all of this is that it is hard to do. Sitting on the floor with your baby for play sessions can be both very rewarding and sometimes (let's be honest) a little boring. But I think it is worth a try.

What are your tips for playing with your baby? Leave them in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. This is true for children's play of all ages. Observe, wait and listen before you interact. See what it is they are doing, find out what they are already able to do and what it is they are trying to achieve, then join in their play to scaffold their learning. It's also advised to commentate on play (perhaps more so as they get older, as babies it may be over stimulating for them to have more than just a few simple words).