We are told from birth that our newborn needs as much tummy time as possible and that it’s also important for their development to talk to them a lot. One thing that’s difficult to know is how much of it do they actually need? How often do we need to interact with our children for it to make a difference or to have an impact?
There’s a lot of pressure on mamas or caregivers to “do as much as possible” because it’s crucial for their children’s growth and brain development. But, there should be a “normal” average of “how much” of it is considered enough. Because, truly, it’s exhausting. It sounds like we should be entertaining our kids every moment of the day, and that doesn’t even take into consideration the energy that’s put into feeding, bathing, putting to sleep, cleaning, etc. And simply put, it’s not really physically possible to be as “non-stop” as we all pressure ourselves to be.
For the mamas that are feeling tapped out and drained, and are struggling to find the energy to play and talk with their kids all the time, this is for you. Here is how you can cope with this.
Why is Interaction With Your Child so Important in the First Place?
Interacting with your baby, even as early as birth, is the way your baby will learn how to socialize, reach their developmental milestones, communicate, and learn about their surroundings in this world.1
Ways to Cope With the Exhaustion of Having to Play/Talk With Your Child
Here are ways to make it a little easier on you. Because, we know how exhausting it can be to feel like you have to constantly play/interact and talk with your child(ren). And to be so blunt, not all parents like playing with their little ones. This is normal and we shouldn’t feel guilty about it. You’re not alone in feeling this way if this is the case for you.
Also, since there aren’t really any guidelines to tell us how much of it they really need (so that we can get a mental break here and there), there are ways to do all these things but in an energy-saving way.
We know how crucial interaction is with our kids, but we’re also not robots. We need to find our own rhythm; what we consider as adequate one-on-one time with our children; and to just try to be ourselves and not feel so pressured all the time.
We’re human, and we need a break too. So…here are ways to interact/play and talk with your baby without setting you off into an over-worked burnout.
- Sit down with them and their toys around you & let them guide you.
- Sometimes, a baby or child just loves to have you present. And this way, you’re still connecting with them. But here, you’re letting them guide you. You don’t always have to find ways to entertain them.
- Put some nursery rhyme songs on and just sing along. No need to dance!
- I once read in a thread, a mama who said a good way to entertain your baby is to put on music and dance with them every day. Although great…it actually could be exhausting. You don’t constantly have to be moving around all the time. If you have the energy to dance…go for it! But, rest assured, you can also do this by sitting down and just sing along and gesture.
- Sit down with your child & talk about your day or read a book.
- If you’re running out of things to say, you can read your child a book. They love the illustrations too!
- Know that it’s OK to be quiet sometimes.
- You don’t ALWAYS need to be talking & entertaining your child every second of the day. Your baby won’t stop growing and learning new things just because you want to be quiet for a bit. Don’t feel guilty about some much-needed quiet moments.
- Leave some room for some independent play. They need it!
- Independent play is actually a great way for your child to develop their sense of creativity and curiosity. So let them play, with your supervision, and they can find their own ways to entertain themselves! If you’re busy cooking, for example, you can let them play with a plastic cup or wooden spoon! You can set a specific amount of time per day if ever your toddler is having issues playing alone.
Not everything in parenting comes naturally. Many parents actually find it difficult and tiring to always have to interact with their baby or child, and most candidly admit that they don’t really even enjoy doing it. This is normal.
It’s totally OK to be quiet and not have to constantly entertain your child(ren). Independent play is probably just as important for their development and growth! Take it easy on yourself, you’re already doing so much.
How do you handle the exhaustion of interactive play with your little one(s)?