In the age wherein parents rely on technology for so much of our communication and entertainment, the question is arising more and more frequently – “How do I entertain my baby without putting her in front of the TV?”.
It’s not that we’ve forgotten, as a species, how to care for our babies without screens.
It’s more of a cultural issue, as well as a logistical issue.
You see, in previous generations, families stayed close together, sometimes starting their new family in the same household as their existing family.
Over time, there have been cultural shifts in the western world, and new parents are finding themselves alone and left to navigate parenthood without generational wisdom or meaningful help.
Add to this that our modern western society praises those who handle everything alone and shames those who reach out for help, and you’ve got a recipe for overworked, overtired, and overstressed new parents.
It’s common to see comments on social media such as, “My 4 month old loves Cocomelon and letting him watch it is the only way I can get anything done around the house.”.
We know, though, that it’s not recommended for babies to be watching TV at all. It can harm their language development, as well as their short-term memory and attention span.
So, what are we supposed to do?
We want the best for our babies, but we’re already overwhelmed and stressed out – listening to crying while we wash the dishes and fix lunch can sometimes be too much for new parents to handle.
How can we help keep our babies entertained without putting them in front of the TV, though?
Even for parents who aren’t stressed out, this is a common question. “What am I supposed to be doing all day with my baby?” is a common sentiment.
So, let’s get some answers – Here are 11 ways you can entertain a baby without the use of TV or other screens.
11 Ways to Entertain your Baby without a TV
Carrying your baby around in a wrap, carrier, or sling is a great way to keep them entertained – it’s a win-win for the both of you.
You will be able to take care of some tasks around your home and your baby will get the comfort and closeness they need.
Bouncy seats and blankets can be easily taken from room to room around your home.
Be silly with and give some snuggles to your baby between each task you need to get done, then transfer the toys (or change them out) and move the blanket to the next area.
High chair activities
If your baby is able to sit unassisted in a high chair, you’ve made it to the next level of baby activities.
There are so many fun activities you can set up on your baby’s high chairs.
You can give them safe items to explore, like things that make noise, a container and items to place inside of it, a tissue box with silk scarves inside, ect.
Babies love smiling faces, hand movements, and music.
Give yourself permission to be silly and sing to your baby, make up rhymes, clap, and make faces.
This will entertain your baby and stimulate their brains.
You don’t have to wait for your child to be old enough to play in a sensory bin to introduce them to sensory activities.
Baby-safe, edible paints, liquidy foods, toys and books with a variety of textures, and even bathtime count as sensory play for babies.
If you’ve got a bathtub, kiddie pool, or any other large “baby container”, you place your baby in it and surround them with toys.
As mentioned before, babies love smiling faces. They are often especially dazzled by their own, even if they don’t recognize that it’s theirs just yet.
Mounting a long mirror on a wall, low to the floor, can help entertain your baby without a TV, no matter their age or ability.
Pots & pans
If you’re little one can sit unassited, giving them some pots, pans, and kitchen utensils can be a fun (and noisy) way to keep them entertained.
If your little one can sit unassisted and is ready for baby-safe snacks, setting them up with some food they can taste and explore is a great way to keep them entertained.
If you don’t mind a little mess, you can even let them explore things with their hands, like yogurt or oatmeal.
If you remember digging through your toybox and rediscovering long lost items as a child, you will be able to understand the appeal of a treasure basket for babies.
Essentially, a treasure basket is a basket filled with soft, baby-safe toys.
Babies enjoy digging through the basket to see what they can discover.
If you use a soft basket, then this activity will even be sutable for babies who can’t sit on their own yet.
Taking your baby outside can help break up your day nicely. The sights, sounds, and smells of the outdoors can stimluate your babies senses.
You can, of course, babywear outside, or lay a blanket down in a shaded area and enjoy the day along with your little one.
If you’ve got things you need to get done, think of which tasks can be taken outside.
When my babies were tiny, I would take a basket of laundry onto the porch and do the folding out there.
Sometimes, I would take some vegetables and a cutting board outside and do some meal preparation.
There you have it – 11 activities that will help you entertain your baby without a TV.
If there are any screen-free baby activities you think should be on this list, let us know in the comments!