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While a newborn might seem like a simple creature with basic needs, going beyond food and changing diapers will provide huge benefits for your baby’s growth in the long run. It’s more than just keeping your baby clean, too. When you’re spending time with your newborn, you’re actively contributing to their well-being and day-to-day learning, and helping to establish a solid foundation for their growth in later years.

Here are seven awesome ways to play with your baby, keep them entertained, and help them grow into intelligent, stable children.

1. Reading

This might seem like a counterproductive thing to do, since newborns don’t have a grasp on language yet, but give it a go anyway. Reading to your baby from day one will train them to listen to the sound of your voice, inflections as you read different words, and make literacy a much easier thing to achieve when they get older. If you want your baby to become a bookworm in the future, this is the first step to getting there.

2. Get some baby snuggles in

This goes without saying, but spending time with your newborn can be meaningful and relieving in the form of some serious cuddling, especially for mothers. Keeping your baby close to you can regulate his stress levels, reduce anxiety, and allowing your baby to get used to your presence in the long run.

3. Make funny faces… and let your baby copy you

Newborns are more observant than you give them credit for… really! Try making different facial expressions (and even sticking your tongue out) and give your baby enough time to study it and give it a go too. And remember to make eye contact: this teaches your baby to recognise facial expressions and learn how to better communicate as time goes by.

4. Play (physical) games

Not only is your baby’s social skills important – it’s also great to focus on helping your child’s motor skills develop from a young age. Playing games with your newborn will do just that, whether you’re playing peek-a-boo or doing a cycling motion with her legs. It’s important to regularly stimulate your baby’s senses, and games are a great way of doing just that. Time to piggyback your little family member more often!

5. Baby massages, anyone?

If your baby is often agitated, restless, or hyperactive, a massage will do wonders as a response to it. Try giving your newborn gentle massages to work off the irritability or restlessness; regulating their emotions and well-being will make your baby a much happier child. More physical touch will create a stronger bond as well, between parent and child, so don’t miss out on this method of staying in touch with your angel.

With these five ways, look forward to a stronger, closer bond with your newborn, and rest easy knowing that you’re actively contributing to their growth from day one. It’s going to be an amazing adventure from here on out. Good luck, parents!

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