Parenting Matters: Make time to play with your baby
By Carol Osborn
(As first published in the Summer 2012 Issue)

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no TV, video or computer time for children under two, and very limited hours for toddlers. So, what can you do to fill the time? Try some of these easy activities to keep your baby engaged, happy, and learning. When you do these things you are developing your baby’s physical, intellectual, social and emotional growth. That’s far more than TV or videos can do, and probably a lot more fun for you, too!

  • Put baby on a blanket near you and fold your laundry on the floor. Talk to her about the colors and textures of the clothes. Let her feel and smell the fabric.
  • Place your baby in his high chair or bouncy seat (away from the stove) while you are cooking. Watch as the pot is bubbling or steaming on the stove and talk about what you are cooking. Talk about the sounds and label the smells.
  • Hold your baby on your lap, sway to and fro while singing, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” This will be sure to get her laughing and asking for more.
  • Read books to your baby about baby things like, “More, More, More Says the Baby” or “Please Baby, Please.” She will identify with these things and learn new words, too.
  • Take your baby for a look-and-listen walk. Look for birds and listen for their chirping. Look for flowers, smell and touch them. Describe the colors.
  • Recite simple poems and finger plays like, “This Little Piggy Went to Market” or “Hickory, Dickory Dock” or “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” Language is your child’s doorway to literacy.
  • Blow bubbles indoors or outside. It is fun to see them rise in the air and pop!

Carol Osborn is an early childhood educator, mother of six and grandmother of 16. She offers practical parenting advice and answers questions in Piedmont Family Magazine’s Parenting Matters column. Send your parenting questions for Carol to

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