So your home with your new child… now what? Besides creating a loving routine and being consistent what can you do to start the attachment process? Play is the work of children and there is no better way to encourage attachment than through games and play. Repetition is key and soon you will discover your child’s favorite games and building those bonds together. I try with all games to have Livi on my lap facing me and making eye contact. This takes time and your child may push you away or avoid it at times.
1. Here are Grandma’s Glasses- this finger play is great at encouraging eye contact, have your little one straddle your lap facing you and teach them how to make pretend glasses by making “O”s with their hands. You can always substitute Mom & Dad for Grandpa & Grandpa.
Here are Grandpa’s glasses
and here is Grandpa’s Hat
and this is the way he folds his hands and puts them in his lap
Here are Grandma’s glasses
and here is Grandmas hat
and this is the way she folds her hands and puts them in her lap
Here are ___________ (child’s name) glasses
and here is ____________ hat
and this is the way she/he moves her hands just like that (something silly, we do the sign for play)
2. Peek -a-boo- everyone knows how to play peek a boo, and even older children can benefit from this one on one game. We do all sorts of variations… peek a boo with a blanket, having Livi use her hands on my eyes and my hands on her eyes. Hiding behind an object. I like to have Livi sitting on my lap facing me and getting really close and whispering it as well.
3. Touching & Tickle& Bouncy Games- PI kids did not get enough touch and they need this. It’s so important. Livi did not like touch right away, she hated having lotion rubbed on her and would squirm and avoid being touched. Slowly she came around and these are a few of our favorite games.
Round and round like a teddy bear (draw circles on child’s belly, arm, leg, cheek)
One step, two step (walk fingers gently on body)
Tickle under there (tickle under arm pits, knees or chin)
Jelly in a bowl, Jelly in a bowl (sit child facing you on your lap)
Wibble wobble, wibble wobble ( wobble and bounce)
jelly in a bowl
(Variations- Jelly on a plate, Jelly on your head, Jelly in your hair etc. be silly)
This Little Piggy went to market- we all know this one
4. Singing games- I sing to Livi all the time, off key but she does not mind. Singing is great because it would bring Livi’s attention to my face. When I first started singing she would just stare at me. It does not matter what you sing- Elvis, Bon jovi, the entire Grease soundtrack…. its a great way to play with your child
I Love singing Laurie Berkners “Im me.. your you” I straddle Livi on my lap and she likes pointing me herself and then me as I sing the simple lyrics ” Im me.. your you.. I use tape.. you use glue.. I stayed short.. but you grew.. but im still me and your still you”
5. Baby games- It surprised me at how much Livi loved and still loves really baby type toys- infant rattles, musical mirrors, Pop up toys meant for the 1-6 month old crowd were fast favorites. They were colorful, simple, made noise and she missed out on all that. So regress, pick up some soft baby books and rattles at the thrift store- make a baby toy basket and bring it out for your toddler or preschooler- there is no harm in it and you may be surprised at how much they are enjoyed. Have baby cuddle time, wrap up your kiddo in a blankie and sing rock a bye baby. Offer your child a sucker while you rock together as this is meant to mimic the comfort response of infant sucking.