Baby & Play Time

Q&A with Renee from The Content Baby


My toddler snatches toys off other children and says “mine”.  How can I stop this negative behaviour?

All parents want their child to be able to demonstrate positive behaviour.  Especially when you are out in public or in social situations.  Setting boundaries with your child will ensure that they are not only a pleasure to be around but that they are aware of how to behave and what your expectation of them is at all times.
Developmentally young toddlers do not have the understanding of sharing and turn taking and it would be unreasonable of parents to think an 18 month old should be able to share and take turns without problems.
Sharing and turn taking it a learnt skill and is a very confusing concept for young children, especially if it is their toys you are asking them to share.  Toddlers also have very limited communication skills and are unable to verbally express most emotions.  They do however, understand their bodies and can grab and remove things they either want or do not want.  Their limited vocabulary will consist of one syllable words such as no, mine, stop, milk etc.  Therefore, a child to who takes a toy off someone and says ‘mine’ is really trying to say “This is my toy and I do not want you playing with it thank you”.
Of course we want our children to be able to function positively in social situations and as I said before these skills need to be learnt.  If you have a child who is snatching a toy and saying ‘mine’ this is an example of what you can say to teach your child how to respond to their feelings and how to share and feel good about it.
“Sally, that is a toy car and Jimmy was playing with it.  We are sharing our toys with Jimmy today. You can play with the blue car while Jimmy plays with the red one.  He will give it back to you later.  Here you are, here is the red car.  What noise does a car make?“.
Get down to your child’s level.  Explain what has happened and why.  Let your child know they will get their toy back when the other child is finished.  Use the sharing word. Give your child an alternative toy then distract them from the toy that had upset them in the first place.

6. How do I ‘play’ with my baby under 12 months?

Play is crucial for your child’s development.  There are many things you can do with your baby under the age of 1 year.  Babies are learning about many different things from the moment they are born about the world; their surroundings; their bodies and you, their parents. Below is a short list of ideas broken up into age groups.
0 – 3 months

  • Stand in front of a mirror and talk to them about what they can see
  • Use mobiles or hanging toys while they are in their cot or on their back on the floor
  • Tummy time on the floor
  • Talk to your bub.  Babies this age love face to face contact.
  • Lay them on their back in a large open space so they can look around and take things in, in their own time
  • Touch your child.  Tickle their hands or rub their arms and face.  Some babies may become fussy if they get over-stimulated so watch for signs.
  • Sing to your baby.  Really anything will do.  Some parents sing what they are doing that day or what they feel like for lunch.
  • Play music to your child and even pick them up for a dance.

3-6 months.

  • Tummy time with toys just out of their reach so they can learn to grab at objects.
  • Mirror on the floor for tummy time
  • Mirror hanging on a mobile for back time.
  • Have a ‘chat’ with your baby.  This is the age where babies start to babble.  Having a chat teaches babies about turn taking as well as feeling acknowledged and loved.
  • Mobiles and hanging toys in the car and on the cot.
  • Babies this age love to kick things.  Hanging mobiles not only gives them a chance to grab things but also to practice kicking.
  • Babies this age may also start to roll and even crawl.  Make sure they are in a safe environment.
  • Sing nursery rhymes with hand/finger actions.  Babies this age love movement and will track your movements closely with their eyes.
  • Your baby will be getting more confident sitting but will still be wobbly.  Playing fun games like “Row row row your boat” and moving them backwards and forwards will help them become aware of their body and be a whole lot of fun.
  • Just like the above game get their legs ready for crawling by laying them on their backs and grabbing a leg in each hand.  Stretch one leg at a time out straight and sing “out, in, out, out, in” or “legs
  • Sit your baby in their high chair and get some natural yoghurt or fragrance free shaving cream and put it in the table top and let your baby go crazy.  They are quickly developing their senses and will love how this feels in between their fingers.

6 – 9 months.

  • By this age your baby may be starting to crawl.  To promote this place soft toys and items of interest just out of their reach to encourage them to move towards it.
  • Bath time with soft colourful bath toys will be a time for fun and learning.
  • Sing songs with hand and finger gestures.  Your child may even begin to follow and remember these.
  • Play music and help your baby to ‘dance’ to it.
  • Give your baby unbreakable items from the kitchen eg wooden spoons, pots, Tupperware and let them hit and bang it.
  • Fill old plastic water bottles with beads or sand or rice.  Secure the lid and let them shake and roll it.
  • Play “Peek-a-boo”.  Your baby will love that you disappeared and re-appeared again.
  • Read lots of books to your baby.  Books about colours, animals etc.

9-12 months.

  • Babies this age love to get around and can often get frustrated at their lack of mobility.  Walkers offer stability and helps a baby stand up and move.
  • Do finger painting with your child.  Choose a paint that is non-toxic and washable.  Sit your baby outside on an old sheet or up in their highchair.
  • Crayon drawing.  Choose thick crayons and supervise as crayons can become lunch.
  • Babies of this age are fascinated with balls.  Rolling, bouncing and spinning.
  • Go to the beach or invest in a sandpit.  Sand play is lots of fun and they will also be developing their sensory awareness.
  • Having a swing is great fun.  Introduce the concept slowly as some babies can become afraid of sudden movement that they have no control over.
  • Singing songs which include body parts eg Heads, shoulders, knees and toes.  Your baby will need help reaching all their body parts.
  • Stacking large blocks and knocking them down = hours of fun for both adults and babies.
  • A personalised book with pictures of your baby plus of people they see or are family eg Parents, Grandparents, Aunties, Uncles etc.  Go through the book and name the important people in their lives.
  • Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles.
  • Balloons.  Babies around this age are simply fascinated by them.  Put them on a long string and your crawling bub will have heaps of fun taking the balloons everywhere.
  • Water play.  Whether this be in the bath or with large containers full of water your littlie will love splashing and pouring and tipping the water everywhere!

Remember, play time with your baby is meant to be relaxing and fun.  Enjoy this special time together.
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And please contact Renee for a one on one consultation  – she is fantastic and does phone and email consultation as well as face to face.
To contact Renee at The Content Baby please click here