6 Ways to Have Fun with Your Baby

I love meeting first time parents. They are so excited about their baby, and completely immersed in being the best parents possible. Most of them have read books, asked lots of questions, and talked to experts about all the issues that come about when you're raising a new human. Everyone has different beliefs and styles, and that is wonderful. It makes our world so much more interesting.

This couple had the happiest baby I've ever photographed. He had such a huge contagious smile the whole session. This doesn't mean he's never grumpy or upset, but at this time, on that day he sure was happy. What makes a happy baby? I'm sure it's different for everyone, but I noticed that this couple did not hesitate to have fun with him.  Here are just a few of my observations about what makes babies happy. I love it when parents do these things during their photo sessions.

1. Talk to your baby

You can see from the images that he loves looking at his parents. They are his favorite people and just seeing their faces make him happy. This will not always be the case sadly.  My teenager will tell you that for sure. At this stage it's so easy just to talk to your baby, make silly faces, silly sounds, or just laugh.

2. Move with your baby

It's really common for first time parents to be so nervous about breaking their child they hardly move when they hold the baby. Babies are used to moving in their mother's wombs for 9 months. It's comforting to them. They loved to be rocked, bounced, or walked with while being held. The best thing is these movements is it usually puts them to sleep. I don't know about you, but I was almost always a fan of a sleeping baby. When they have good neck strength you will notice they loved being lifted high in the air. This always, always brings smiles, even to the grumpiest of babies.

3. Sing to your baby

Babies really respond to music. They usually have a favorite song that will quiet them or make them laugh. They will always remember those songs and have wonderful memories associated with them. I sang "You are my Sunshine" to all of my kids, and even now they get excited when they hear it. Don't just rely on slow songs. Get up and dance with your baby. Have fun! There are so many times as a parent that we are just simply tired and want a break from the crying and whining. Turning those moments around by singing and dancing can really make your day so much better. I still have "dance parties" with my kids. You'll never, ever see me dancing in public, but in the privacy of my home with the curtains closed we dance up a storm.

4. Play Ball

I have yet to meet a child who doesn't get excited about playing ball with their parents. They can throw, kick, and roll a simple ball for lots of fun. It's so simple and easy. Even batting a balloon around the house (supervised closely by the parents) can distract a fussy baby and keep them happy.

5. Go Outside

We all feel cooped up when we are inside too long. Babies are the same. They love a change of scenery with new colors and fresh air. Next time your baby or toddler is fussy, just pick them up and take them outside. Most of the time they instantly quiet down as you step out the door. This is another reason why most of my sessions are outdoors. Kids love it outside. They love the feeling of freedom and exploring new places and seeing new things.

6. Snuggle Time

I'm a huge fan of snuggle time with my kids. When they are sitting on your lap, or laying down next to you quietly they feel so much comfort in the closeness. I need those quiet moments with them to bond, and reassure them that all is well.

You probably see that these are really simple, easy things you can do all the time and cost no money, except maybe the cost of the music, and the ball. Maybe these are all so obvious to you this list seems pointless, however I've run into many parents who didn't know how helpful some of these things are.

Julie Campbell