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Behind The Book: Playing With Baby

Author, Laurie Hollman, shares what inspired her to write Playing With Baby. Read along to learn how playing with your baby in the first year can enrich their learning for life!

Does playing games matter?

A baby hears her mother’s voice in utero, claps her hands a few months later, plays peekaboo over and over, follows your pointed finger at her toy—but what does it all mean? In this book, I wend my way through dozens of stimulating and imaginative ways infants play, from birth to year one. Multiple illustrations in words and pictures are backed up by fascinating, cutting-edge research about how play promotes infants’ development and a secure attachment between parent and baby.

Specific training as an infant-parent psychotherapist—which led me to spend decades of hours with mothers, fathers, and babies—inspired me to write this book.

Sorting through all the data

Playing with an infant month by month the first year may or may not come naturally to parents. Parents who have not had any prior experience playing with newborns have a challenging experience as their child grows. Some parents who may not have received nurturing themselves throughout childhood and wanted to get the knack of play talked to me about their baby’s development month by month while also joining me on the floor playing. As they observed me play with their babies, they learned first by watching than by playing on their own.

Even experienced parents who play rather easily can be so inundated by the broad range of play activities that they are immensely grateful to discover which activities promote development each month.

Research based advice

Remarkable experiences with babies led me to want to write this book with numerous illustrations of my actual play with parents and their infants. The choice of play activities described in this book is based on the research done by world-renowned psychologists and psychiatrists whose careers focused on the infants’ world.

The infants’ world that I admire includes the inspiring development of their minds! For example, from the start, newborns recognize their mother’s voice and begin to interact with sounds and movements.

Simple signals

It’s a great joy for me to share my own continuing astonishment at the workings of a baby’s mind with parents in my therapy room and now in this book. 

A brief example I enjoy reveling in with parents is how, after several months, their baby points. Why is this so exciting? Because the baby is demonstrating her motor development along with her brain development. 

How you may ask? Her pointing says, through action, what she intends. Yes. Babies already have clear and specific intentions that motivate their actions. When mothers respond by picking up what is being pointed to—all without words mind you—the baby feels understood and shows delight with a giggle or smile.

So, what’s so amazing? The mother and baby are having a conversation before words. Then the mother can point at something and the baby follows the line of her pointing with his eyes, showing he knows that his mother has a mind separate from his. How? Well, he sees the mother has her own specific intentions, just like he does.

Helping parents be happy

Parents of all ages—from adolescent mothers to mothers in their twenties, thirties, forties, and even fifties—feel how important playing with their infants becomes as they learn how to change their play choices month by month. 

Play is the vehicle for babies to learn and interact with their parents by forming secure attachments. An infant’s feeling of security is what allows them to trust and learn from others. 

Helping mothers and fathers develop secure attachments in infancy through four months, for example, leads to secure attachments at year one and beyond. 

This is the marvelous understanding research reveals. And by writing all of this—infant development, infant play, infant and parent social interactions, empathic journeys with babies—down in one book gives me a tremendous sense of pleasure and satisfaction.

Order Playing with Baby here!

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