Spending time with your child is a great way to reduce stress. His/her laughter is extremely contagious and laughter is an excellent way to enhance your mood, positive thoughts, and reduce stress. A child, especially your child, is a great way to get back in touch with your own inner child. When you’re laughing with them, playing with them, and overall just being a good father, your own health improves during each activity. Areas of your health that improve include your physical activity, emotional health, and creativity.
Here are some activities you can do that are age-appropriate.
Hold your baby close to your chest. Putting your baby so close to you will make them feel secure. This security can last for the rest of your baby’s life, increasing confidence, promoting an outgoing personality, and making them feel more comfortable in the world. If your baby turns out to have a more introverted personality, nurture your child and learn a lot about their interests. There’s nothing wrong with having a quieter child.
#2 Tickle Your Baby
Not only does tickling your baby make him/her extremely happy, it also lets your baby know that you will take care of them. Through this simple and fun exercise, you can teach your baby lessons such as trust and security.
Your baby knows the difference between your voice and his or her mother’s voice within the earliest weeks of his/her life. By hearing your voice they learn to trust you and that you are an important figure in their life. When interacting with your infant or toddler, name objects in their environment. Point to these objects and touch them. This will help your toddler connect names with their objects.
If your baby is deaf, learning sign language is very important. Many studies show that all babies can communicate in sign language much earlier than they can with speech. So, use sign language with your child and communicate with them as you would if they were a hearing infant or toddler. This is a great way to build their communication skills and comfort with sign language early on.
Sing songs that are familiar to your infant. Babies enjoy songs that are repeated over and over again. Make up special songs, add movements and finger games, and use really silly expressions to get across the emotions. In the future, this body language can help your infant or toddler recognize the body language and tone of voice as they get older.
When you’re playing or interacting in some other way with your infant or child you’ll want your face to be very expressive. This is a great way to bond with your child and show the sheer pleasure you get just being around them. When you make these funny faces, let them touch your face and encourage your toddler to mimic your expressions.
An activity your infant will enjoy is the traditional peekaboo. For your toddler, you can hide behind a cover or a wall and peek out from the wall. Infants and toddlers love to play hide and seek. During activities with your baby or toddler, you’ll want to encourage them to mimic you. This will help with their social skills later and their ability to regulate their emotions.
#6 “I love you”
Tell your baby or infant, “I love you” very often. There’s no limit to how many times you can say “I love you”. These words, said in the right tone, will let them know you cherish them, want to be near them, and won’t leave them. Find activities where you can say, “I love you”. You can do it while finger-painting or playing outside. For that matter, any time you can say, “I love you”, just say it. It will make your child feel secure as they get older. This security will help them find healthy relationships, love themselves, and only choose the best for their lives. You’ve given them the foundation of love to stand on.
#7 Other Children
Make sure your child sees you interacting with, communicating, and playing with other children and adults. This will boost their confidence and trust in others which will lead to healthier relationships in their later years. They will be able to make friendships and romantic relationships, easier. Building trust in others at a young age will help them to network, find good jobs, and create meaningful relationships.
A great activity for your infant or toddler is reading. Reading is a great skill to enhance their language, comprehension, and expressive abilities. Place your baby or toddler in your lap, cuddle him/her close, open a vibrant, hard-cover book, and begin reading. Hardcover books are harder to rip and turning the pages is easier. This bonding time will let your infant or toddler know that reading is a fun activity and it can be done with his/her dad. Make sure to use expressive voices and body language. Books are an excellent way to build your infant’s emerging language skills.
You may also want to go to the library, often. This will direct your child to libraries as they age. Your library may have games you can check out or play in the library that include videos, games, and other fun activities that include reading.
The most important activities you’ll want to do with your child is reading, talking, and cuddling. This will set their future up for success, meaningful relationships, and less anxiety. Though lack of physical contact can cause anxiety, it isn’t the only cause. In infancy, books should include many shapes and colors. There are books available that have doors, zippers, and other interactive elements such as pop-up characters.