5 Tips to keep your baby entertained all day

You know what no one ever tells you when you're pregnant? How exactly you're supposed to keep a small child entertained for hours upon hours every day. Sure, they nap and they eat, but after the first six weeks or so, they become a lot more like tiny humans. And humans need entertaining--just ask the creators of cable television and the internet.

Whether you're a full-time stay-at-home mom or a full-time working mom with just a few days to fill, the prospect of spending 12 or so hours a day engaging your tiny companion can be overwhelming. So, here are a few fun ideas to fill the time:

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Read. Babies absolutely love the sound of Mom's and Dad's voices. It's familiar and comforting, so most of the time they'll be happy to sit and listen to you read just about anything. With their colorful and graphic illustrations, board books are great for a wide age range of babies, from the youngest of infants to older toddlers.

Independent play. Lay your baby down on the floor with a few toys--plush animals, teethers, blocks, stacking cups--and let her explore the different sounds, colors, and textures. This exercise is great for strengthening motor skills and teaching your child how to entertain herself. Plus, it usually buys me some time to wash dishes or throw in a load of laundry--time that will naturally increase as your child gets older if you make it a regular practice. Just make sure to check on your little one every few minutes. 

Head outdoors. Nature provides tons of exploration opportunities for babies. Plop your baby or toddler in a stroller or carrier and take a walk, or you can even just sit out on the porch for a little while and talk to your baby about what he might be seeing and hearing. Older babies and toddlers will love a walk to the playground where they can run around and interact with other children. Plus, the fresh air and sunshine will likely give you a nice energy boost.

Television. I know this one is a little controversial, but sometimes mom needs to take a few minutes to veg on the sofa after hours of feeding, cleaning, rocking, reading, and playing. These days, there are lots of shows that have been specifically created to engage the littlest of minds. Most of these use animation filled with bright colors, patterns and simple motions. See if your provider carries channels like Sprout, Disney Junior, Nick Jr., Baby or Hub, all of which feature developmental programming for babies.

Get in the kitchen. Since before he could pull himself up, my son has loved being in the kitchen with me while I prepare meals or bake up a treat. Younger babies can sit in an infant seat on the floor to watch you work, and tots who can stand, climb, and walk can get in on the action. I let my son pour and mix right along side me. Just be sure to teach him to stay away from knives and the stove!

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Topics: baby  child rearing  how to parent  toys  working mom  working moms  toddler  tips for kids  tips