Family Activities with Baby

Family Activities with BabyOnce I was comfortable being out and about with baby, I found myself dragging my husband to all sorts of family activities that we’d never had reason to attend before. I remember one particular event, a family fall harvest sort of thing that we went to when my daughter was just 5 months old. There were kid’s games, face painting, vendor booths advertising local preschools, stilt walkers, and generally all of the fun things you might find at such an event. As my husband pointed out, most of the activities weren’t really for adults and my daughter certainly wasn’t old enough to get what she was looking at, let alone participate, but he humored me. The truth is, though, that these types of family activities are important, long before baby has any clue of where you are.

For baby, these types of activities provide a wealth of new experiences that help promote cognitive and emotional growth, along with social understanding. They hear new sounds, see new sights, and smell new aromas. They are introduced to the idea that there are lots of people in the world, not just mom and dad, while being in a secure environment (stroller/baby carrier/arms) with their parents. Talking about what you see and pointing out new sights engages baby with language and facial emotion. Stimulation at this age is critical for brain growth. Of course, always be aware that too much stimulation can be a bad thing for baby, so be prepared to give them a break should they need it. Oh, and fresh air is healthy!

Additionally, this a great chance to bond with baby. Showing them everything there is to see is more than likely a happy moment for you too. It’s exciting to show baby their first carved pumpkin, first Easter egg hunt, or first parade. Your excitement will likely rub off on them. Seeing mom smile usually makes for a smiley baby!

For you, getting out and about is critical. Whether you have just one young baby at home or multiple children, it’s very important for mom to feel like a normal, social human being. Sometimes after long days of Daniel Tiger, cutting up meat, teaching the toddler to “use your words” and finding you’ve had dry spit up down your back for who knows how long, a mom just needs a bit of social interaction. Heading out to those family places and activities, even if baby is far too young to participate, is an easy way to get in some adult interaction and change of pace while still being in a kid friendly atmosphere. You can chat with your partner, shop a bit if there are vendors present, and maybe even meet new mom friends. Even just the sights and sounds around you will offer a break from the everyday routine and refresh your mind set.

I know that for me personally, going to those events helped solidify in my mind our new status as family of three. It was fun to see the other families with older children running around and get a glimpse of what we had to look forward to. It was a great way to get out and about when the sudden removal of our formerly “free” lifestyle weighed heavily on my psyche. It allowed me to show the world to my baby and my baby to the world. So go, get out and join in on the next parade, festival, or what have you. You’re laying the groundwork for strong family bonds and demonstrating the importance of family time. Don’t worry if you’re toting a 3 month old who doesn’t have a clue yet. That’s not important. Getting out and enjoying life is!

Kate Cunha lives in the Pacific NW with her daughter and husband. She loves where she lives and the abundance of family friendly activities that it offers.

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