As any parent, grandparent (or even babysitter!) can tell you, you don’t necessarily have to introduce toys to your baby – they’re going to find ‘em themselves! Whether it’s pressing every button on a remote control or nibbling on a keyring, babies are going to seek out every opportunity to pick something up and play with it. So the question here probably shouldn’t be ‘How to introduce toys to my baby?’ but ‘How do I introduce better toys to my baby?’
Baby’s First Toys
Let’s start at the very beginning – when they’re lying in their crib or bassinet, and you want to introduce them to the teddy bear or bunny rabbit you’ve been saving ever since you learned you had a little one on the way. For starters, your baby’s eyesight isn’t 20/20 when they’re born, and they can only focus on things that are about 8-12 inches away from their face. When you’re playing with your kiddo, just keep your face close and introduce the toy within a 12-inch distance from their big beautiful eyes.
What’s better than their eyesight, however, is their hearing! Babies will turn their head to face a noise – and that could either be your soothing voice or a musical toy. So going down the sound route can be a good way to make toys a part of their everyday!
As Babies Grow
As your baby gets older and starts to see better, they’ll begin to pick out their #1 toys. Babies latch onto favorites fairly early (within the first 3 months they’ll already have their preferences!), and if you’re going to guide them to the right toy, it’s a good idea to start soon. If you’re determined that one educational toy is going to be better for them, then bring it into their life from the onset so that they can fall in love with it right away! But don’t be surprised if it falls by the wayside and your kiddo picks something else as their new best bud. After all, toys are a fickle business and what’s the favorite one day may get replaced by another the next.
When your child is two-to-three months old, they’re going to require more tummy time – which is a great time to bring new toys into play! Your baby is going to be lifting their head, maybe stretching their arms, and they can grab new and interesting toys that are laid out in front of them while they’re at it.
Another prime opportunity is both at bathtime and during nursing. While you’ve got them on their back, comfortable and content, you can dangle a colorful hanging toy above to grab their attention! If it makes sounds or plays melodies, this is the right time for a musical toy as well – hearing the music will encourage them to reach up and grasp the toy with their itty bitty fingers to make it their own.
No matter how you do it, the first few months can be an ideal time for parent-and-baby bonding. As you’re introducing your little ones to new toys, it gives you a chance to play with them – to let them take the toy from you, then pull it back, and repeat! This is bound to bring about baby giggles as they will enjoy the interactive play and learn more about the parent-child bond. It will also endear them to you and turn you into a partner in play – a relationship that will hopefully last a lifetime.