At eight months old, you will find that your baby is curious about everything, but their attention span is comparable to that of a puppy! The best you can expect at this age is about 2 - 3 minutes before your baby turns to the next activity.
Teaching your baby to play for longer and focus is very important for their cognitive development and prolonging their playtime, either with you or on their own, will only benefit them in the future.
Here are our top 5 ways you can prolong your baby’s playtime:
Provide variety, but be wary of too many distractions
Giving your baby a variety of playthings is essential to stimulate him and pique his curiosity, but too many toys can be distracting too. If your baby is crawling, place toys in different corners of the room to encourage movement as he moves from one plaything to the next. Also, try to avoid giving your baby toys with flashing lights and sounds - he might seem interested in them for long periods, but this doesn’t do much for his development, and he will be bored of them soon.
Join your baby on the floor and show him how to play with different toys. Help him where necessary because the extra support now will give him the confidence to play on his own later.
Find a balance
Balance your baby’s playtime between active play with lots of movement and quiet, gentle activities. Quiet activities are often related to fine motor activities that help develop focus. Provide some toys and activities like picking up small objects or putting balls in a container as these are good for practising small finger movements.
When you introduce a new activity, start with just a few pieces and aim to add only a minute or two to the playtime. When we introduce a new activity, our babies often feel overwhelmed by ALL the blocks, or ALL the stacking cups or even ALL the balls they need to drop into a container. Start by giving them only one or a few parts of the activity to get the sense of accomplishment and achievement from completing the activity.
Like adults, babies don’t always feel like paying attention or focusing on a single task. And with so many new and exciting things happening all around them, why should we expect them to always focus on the one thing we want them to? So when you give your baby a new toy or activity, and he is not interested, remove it for now. You can even leave it on his shelf to see if he will return to it independently. Maybe he will be ready in a day or two when he is less tired, hungry or even more developmentally ready. Just don’t be too hard on yourself if your baby jumps from one activity to another - it’s a sign of a healthy, curious little mind!
2 min read
2 min read