Playing with your baby
Playing with your baby helps strengthen their relationship with you as well as develop their brain and body. Every baby is different and will reach milestones at different times. Try not to compare your baby with other babies of the same age.
Some ideas for playing with your baby starting from around 9 months include:
Your baby might have just learned to crawl or maybe they have become a very fast crawler. Challenge them with different surfaces to crawl on, obstacles to crawl over, under or around and plenty of time on the floor to practice.
A great game is to chase your baby or have them follow you. Walk or get down on the floor and crawl after them, telling them what you’re doing. For example ‘mum is coming after you, I’m going to catch you and kiss you’. At first you’ll need to ‘catch’ them quite quickly but as they get used to the game you can let them crawl further. Also encourage them to follow you. For example ‘here I go over to the chair, come on, this way’. Let them crawl to the door before picking them up when you’re going out.
Eat Together, Play Together
At some point before walking, babies learn to stand. Standing is important for developing balance and muscle strength. Babies get themselves into the standing position in a variety of ways but most will use furniture as a means of pulling themself to stand.
Place your baby’s favourite toys up on furniture (couch, chair) to motivate your baby to pull themself up; once standing confidently you can place toys just out of reach to encourage your baby to ‘walk’ (cruise) along the furniture to reach their toy.
Dancing is a great way to encourage movement and develop balance. Music helps with brain development. Put some music on or sing (your baby won’t mind if you’re not good at it!). Show your baby how to rock and move to the music. Once they are able to stand you can hold their hands and help them gently rock back and forwards and wave their arms about. Once they are walking you can encourage them to move freely to the music. Show them how it’s done.
Find your local parks and start visiting them regularly. Your baby will enjoy seeing other children playing. Help them explore the play equipment. Take them down the slide – you can either slide down with your baby on your lap or hold them under the arms as you move them from the top of the slide to the bottom. You can also let them crawl up the slide. Help them to crawl on the climbing equipment and ramps. Once your baby is able to walk they will start being able to enjoy the play equipment with less and less help from you.
Planning for active play and family activity can help to ensure both you and your baby have some planned physical activity and active play every day. This should be in addition to your usual active play. Try using the active planner below.
Download a .pdf copy of this empty planner
Useful resources for Session Three: 9 Months