While many moms and dads spend much of their time trying to entertain their little ones, it is important to note that babies do not need too much entertainment. They can get burned out easily when you try to do too much with them because their brains are processing everything you do. Plus they do not have a long attention span, so five minutes is a long time for a baby to try to pay attention.
Watch for signs that your baby is tired of playing or that his or her stimuli are overloaded. Your baby will learn quickly not to make eye contact with you if he does not want to play any longer. He also may seem to zone out, and that means that his little brain needs a rest.
You should work to give your baby the opportunity to be intrigued without you there. When you hear your baby get up in the morning or from a nap, you do not have to rush in to pick him up. Like adults, babies may need a few minutes to gather their thoughts. They may want to watch their mobile swaying. Give them that opportunity because they are learning to enjoy themselves while they are watching such motion.
You do not have to play with your baby always. Of course, you should sit on the floor and stack blocks together. Those activities will help stimulate your baby, but at the same time, they are too much for you to do all the time. You need to allow your child to be independent from you. Many babies want you in the room during certain parts of the day, and you should grant that desire because it often shows a need for a sense of security. Still, your baby can play while you are working. When you are going through the day's mail, you can give baby the junk mail or the envelopes while you are taking care of everything. He or she will enjoy this playtime, and Mommy will get some work done.
Your baby does not need to make noise all the time. Many babies seem to be babblers from the crib, but others enjoy playing quietly. Even if you have a "talker," he probably likes to just sit sometimes. Do not rush in on those occasions. Let him enjoy the time to himself. You should work to provide a quiet atmosphere at least some of the time during the day as well. Babies can get too much stimulation from everything going on around them, and many parents talk to their babies or play music for them incessantly. Give the little one's ears a break and create a calming mood for a few minutes everyday.
Finally, know that sometimes baby will just want to sit with you. She will not need you to do anything but will just want a little rest. She may come over when you are sitting on the couch and then just veg in your lap. Allow this relaxation; it's good for both of you!
By Julia Mercer