The problem with having two (or more) children is that you quickly forget what you did with the first one by the time you get to the second. Little things like when did you start a bedtime routine, how many layers you dressed your first baby in, how did you amuse your firstborn? I certainly have this problem. I seemed to always be playing games with our first daughter and now that I have our second daughter, I cannot think of any games I used to play. In the slim chance that I have a third, I thought I should collect some of the games I have found this time round – especially those that I can play with both of them at once.
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When your baby is gurgling and cooing, copy those sounds back at them. This is not only amusing to watch when your partner is busy making silly noises, it also helps teach your baby about the art of conversation. They can see how the different sounds are made, by looking at the shape of your mouth when you are making the sounds. Doing this with a toddler as well produces some interesting noises – or at least it did when I played it with my daughters.
The best thing about having a newborn is that you can sing to your heart’s content and they lap it up. For some unknown reason my 3 month old actually likes hearing me sing! We spend ages singing nursery songs – and the best part of it is that my toddler can join in too! Singing is also a great opportunity to help develop your baby’s language skills and the repetitive nature of the rhymes will help your baby improve their memory skills
- Knocking down
A firm favourite – with both my baby and toddler – is knocking down blocks which are stacked. By making the tower close to your baby they will make movements with their arms and legs and knock the tower down. My baby takes great delight in knocking down the tower either her sister or I have made and again this game can involve a toddler, although beware they can be slightly more precious over the tower they’ve just made than you might like!
It is never too early to start! Children love to hear the sound of Mummy/Daddy’s voice and by reading to your baby and your toddler they will also develop their language skills. By choosing brightly coloured, board books I have found that my newborn’s attention is kept for slightly longer as she is fascinated by the blocks of colour. I have encouraged my older daughter to pick books she thinks her sister would like alongside the ones she wants to have read to her.
Bubbles are a firm favourite with babies and toddlers alike. The concentration on my toddler’s face when she is trying to blow bubbles is remarkable, when she finally manages it my baby follows the bubbles and will try to reach for them. My only caveat is if you are doing this inside with a toddler avoid carpeted areas. I have found enthusiasm replaces care when trying to put the stick into the solution!
- Follow me
This game made me think more of cats than babies but it is amazing how much my little one loved it. It simply involves holding a piece of brightly coloured ribbon and swaying it in front of your baby. I found it was a great game to encourage hand-eye co-ordination. To involve my toddler I encouraged her to sway the ribbon gently and to add further excitement I asked her to choose a toy to tie on the end.