Showing affection and playing with your baby
Once the meeting starts, welcome everyone and ask the participants: • Who can help us remember what we talked about in our last meeting? • Who was able to do the activity at home that we asked you to do at the end of the meeting? How did it go? • Does anyone have questions or concerns after doing the activity?
What are we going to learn? The importance if showing love and affection to the baby and playing with him or her to help with emotional and mental development.
Let’s talk about it! We are going to look at some pictures so we can talk about what we know about the subject.
How do you play with your baby? Tell us about it.
How do you demonstrate love and affection to your baby?
Why do you think it is important to demonstrate affection and play with babies?
section 3 / 4-5 months • meeting 19
“Ways of showing love” WHAT WE’LL DO: Start by telling these two stories:
What we’ll need: • Cardstock
Story #1 • Markers in several colors Joshua is in 4th grade. He is ten years old and is a good student. His teacher is very kind and cares for him a lot. Joshua is a very confident boy and always goes to class. His mother, Dorothy, can’t read but is very supportive of Jack and makes sure that he goes to school neat and clean and helps him do his homework. Ever since Joshua was a baby he has received lots of care and attention from the whole family. And although they couldn’t buy him toys they would play with him with whatever was laying around. Story #2 John is ten years old too, but he doesn’t go to school because he has to help his father who is an alcoholic. His mother never went to school and does not think it is important for her son to go either. John has never received affection from his parents, instead they frequently yell and hit him. When John’s father is drunk he will often hit his wife and child… After you tell the two stories, ask the parents to answer a few questions about them: • How have Joshua’s parents treated him since he was a baby? • What consequences have Joshua’s parent’s attitudes had on his life? • How have John’s parents treated him since he was a baby? • What consequences have John’s parent’s attitudes had on his life? Next, divide the group into pairs and give each pair three cards. Each group should write or draw three suggestions of how they can show affection to a four or five month old. Then tell each group to pick one and dramatize it. When everyone is done, ask the group to discuss what makes it hard for us to express affection and love to our children? Other suggestions: You can make a few more suggestions of how to play and show affection to your baby. Ask the group to practice a few with the babies who are at the meeting: • Talk to the baby while looking him or her in the eyes, and listen when the baby coos and talks gibberish. • Use phrases like, “Hi baby, how are you doing? Do you want to play?” etc. • Sing the baby a song using his or her name... “I love you Ruth”... “Isaac, what a pretty boy you are”... “Rock-a-by-Susan”.
What did we learn today? Now, we’ll review what we discussed today. • How do you feel after this meeting? Why? • What are the two most important things you’ve learned today? • What will you do differently based on what you learned during the meeting? • What did you like the most? Are there things you didn’t like? • Do you have any remaining concerns or questions about what we talked about? To finish, what would you recommend to improve today’s meeting when we do it again with another group. (Explain that answering this question will help the meeting be even better in the future for parents with small children.)
To do at home:
Parents should draw a happy face on the calendar for every day they express love and affection to their children and a sad face when they do not. A few ideas of how to show affection: • Dance around holding your baby and whisper in his or her ear “I love you so much!”. • Tickle your baby’s stomach and say “What a pretty baby”. • Take your baby for a walk through your community and tell him or her all about what you’re seeing. For example: “Look at that beautiful butterfly! That’s where Mrs. Smith lives. Your grandparents live over there”. Don’t use baby talk and never yell at your baby or say things like, “If you don’t stop crying the big bad wolf is going to get you!”.
Basic information for the facilitator: Learning more about showing affection and playing with your baby: Why play is important: • For babies play is more than fun. Once babies of 4-5 months have developed stronger necks, caregivers should play with them more actively. • It is important that the baby is moved around gently as depicted in the pictures to experience space and how her body fits into the world around her. • The physical, social, emotional and mental development of a baby is nurtured by caregiver’s play and interaction with babies. • Language development is encouraged by caregivers talking directly to babies about objects they can see and are interested in which helps the brain to link visual and hearing stimulus.
section 3 / 4-5 months • meeting 19
76 How to play with babies: • At this stage babies are mostly alert to and interested in things that are new. Objects which are entirely familiar are boring, they have found out all about them and there are no more discoveries to be made. • During this period you and your family members are the baby’s best playthings. Your muscles supplement the baby’s and your body is her gymnastic equipment. With your support, she can do a thousand things she could not do by herself. Play activities can include: • Offering baby new objects • Encouraging baby to roll to reach for objects • Making faces • Playing peek a boo • Singing songs • Rocking and moving with baby Bonding: • It is important for all family members to play with babies and bonding with fathers as well as mothers is important. By four months, a baby not only smiles more readily at the things and the people that are familiar, but definitely knows and prefers her primary caregivers. This shows how much babies want to communicate and be a part of the family. • A baby is more likely to become securely attached to someone who loves her, treats her warmly and affectionately and takes pleasure in her company. • It is important to respond to the baby’s signals. Caregivers should show affection to babies to help them feel secure and not because babies are cute or because it feels good to hug babies – babies are not dolls. Babies who receive physical care but not love and affection will not develop as well overall. Summary: Caregivers need to understand their baby’s attachment and stimulation needs and need to spend time engaged in activities which help their babies reach their full potential.
Why do you think it is important to demonstrate affection and play with babies? How do you demonstrate love and affection to your baby? Let’...