How can I help my baby learn and develop? 

Health visitor Maggie Fisher talks about how parents can help a baby’s development through play.

Find out why play is important

Transcript of How can I help my baby learn and develop?

How can I help my baby learn and develop?


Maggie: Play is the way that a baby learns about the world about them and is the best way, as a parent, you can help your baby to learn and develop. And when you are holding the baby your face is perfectly in focus so talking to your baby, smiling, repetition is really, really important, so copying their facial expressions: they are probably things that you do quite naturally.


When a baby is ready to engage and play with you, they will look at you. When a baby feels overwhelmed, they will look away from you and being tuned in and responsive to your baby’s cues is really important when you want to play with them. So when they are in that quiet, alert phase that is the perfect time to talk to them, to smile at them and to leave gaps so that you give them time to copy you, to smile at you.


Routine tasks like nappy changing and bath time are actually perfect opportunities to play with your baby. So when you are changing them you can sing to them, talk to them, walking your fingers across their tummy. Babies also like to lie on the floor and have lots of opportunity to kick and to play. The little baby play centres that you get, the gym, are very good because they help your baby’s hand and eye co-ordination. And when they get a bit older, and they can grasp a rattle - say at about three months - they can hold that and play with that. But your baby needs you more than any toy.


All babies develop at different rates so it’s actually not very helpful to compare your baby to your friend’s baby. Play is a lovely way of strengthening your relationship – relax, enjoy, it’s a lovely way to develop your relationship with your baby.


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