How Can I Spend Quality Time With My Older Kids if My Infant is Taking Up All My Time?

Attention grabbing

While infants are absolutely adorable, they are real attention gobblers.

At times, it can seem like you need to invest so much time in the infant, that you just don’t have time for anyone else in the family.

Don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be so.

There is actually a lot you can do to engage with your baby and with the rest of the kids, during special family time.

Here’s a breakdown of how you can manage family time and ‘baby time’ all at once, based on your baby’s age:

0-3 Months

Your family can start playing with the baby right away.  She loves just watching your face, but looking at black and white pictures or toys is also great for a newborn because of the sharp contrast.  Make sure you hold the pictures or 3D objects about 8 – 15 inches away from her face so she can see them clearly, as it takes a few months for your newborn to be able to see beyond this distance.

Tummy time with your newborn doesn’t have to be tough if you make it into a game for the whole family.  Propping your baby up with a pillow so she can see everyone while on her stomach will make the experience more enjoyable for her.  The family can take turns shaking hand toys, dangling objects just out of her reach, or moving a toy back and forth in front of her so she can follow it with her eyes.  Looking in a soft mirror together will also be fascinating for your baby.

If you have a play mat or mobile, one of your older children can lie with your baby and play together with the toys.  It’s a great time for them to bond.

3-6 Months

At this point your baby can see across the room, which makes playing together even more fun.  Your family members can take turns partially hiding behind furniture and popping out to wave at baby. Your baby can laugh and giggle at this point and will love playing with your entire family.

Everyone can play with a baby using brightly colored toys, toys that make noise, or sensory toys that have different fabric textures.  You can make music together as a family while the baby shakes a bell and your older kids sing or use toy instruments.

Reading a book together with all of your kids is a great activity for the entire family.  Even something as simple as playing with the baby’s and your other children’s toes will ignite laughter among the whole family.

There is actually a lot you can do to engage with your baby and with the rest of the kids

6-9 Months

Your baby boy is quickly becoming more mobile and that means he is more engaged in family activities.  He can bounce on your lap while your other kids and family members have a dance party.  Babies during these months can pick up objects, so the family can play together by stacking blocks, rolling balls, and playing with stuffed animals.  Your kids will also like playing with common household items together, so bring out the pots, whisks, and other kitchen utensils and make noise together. An activity table is a great opportunity for your baby to pull himself up in preparation for walking and give him time with his siblings while they play with water, sand, or paint.

9-12 Months

Your baby is crawling around and may even be walking at this point.  Your children will love having crawling races with the baby and will encourage him to start walking to keep up with them.  A push toy or walker can also help your baby cruise around the house with his siblings while the family spends time together.

Simple games like peekaboo and pat-a-cake are quick activities when the family doesn’t have much time to spend all together.  Puzzles are another great family activity that the baby can participate in.  The baby can use art supplies and plastic musical instruments at this point, so making a family mural with crayons or paint on butcher paper or making music together is perfect quality time for the whole family.

Conclusion

Even if you only have a few minutes where the whole family can be together in between car pools, after school activities and caring for your baby, you can still spend moments together having fun.

It will help bring your entire family closer together.

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