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Rebecca Chicot PhD

Child development expert with a Phd from Cambridge University. She has worked on several best-selling books and BBC documentaries. She is the proud mother of three children.
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Stage 4 – 9 months

Playing anticipation games with babies

Your baby is a natural born scientist full of curiosity about the world they live in and the people around them. So many of the things we take for granted had to be learned and understood when we ourselves were little babies. If you play games with your baby you will see some of the dramatic milestones in thinking that babies reach as well as having fun as you help them understand their world.
Video Tutorial
In Short
Peepo or peekaboo is a wonderful game to play with your baby as he will love to see your face return again and again as it's his favourite thing to look at.

It takes time for babies to appreciate and enjoy anticipation games because in their early weeks and months they live completely in the present and are not capable of learning patterns about what will happen in the near future.

If your baby doesn't enjoy anticipation games with tickling or loud 'boo' noises try and tone it down to a level of stimulation they enjoy - some babies just don't enjoy shocks and loud noises as much as others.

Why playing with babies is important

Your baby is a natural born scientist full of curiosity about the world they live in and the people around them. So many of the things we take for granted had to be learned and understood when we ourselves were little babies. If you play games with your baby, you will see some of the dramatic milestones in thinking that babies reach, as well as having fun as you help them understand their world.

Anticipation games when playing with your baby

Babies have very little concept of the future – they very much live in the present, however, playing anticipation games like, ‘This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed at home. This little piggy had roast beef and this little piggy had none. And this little piggy went wee-wee-wee-wee-wee all the way home,’ allows them to anticipate the future as they learn that they get tickled at the end of the game.

Babies are drawn to games that help them learn to think and understand the world. It’s very rewarding so there is a lot of delight and enthusiasm around games with an element of surprise or anticipation, like the roundand-round-the-garden game where you stroke your finger in a spiral on your child’s palm and they know that it ends with a tickle on their body.

23-anticipation-games

The song goes:

Round and round the garden, like a teddy bear.
One step, two step and tickly under there.
Round and round the garden, like a teddy bear.
One step, two step, tickle you under there.

(see the video but you will probably remember it from your childhood too!)

You will need to do lots of repetition when playing with your baby.

The power of peek a boo and peepo

Peek a boo is also a game universally loved by babies and parents. Babies love their parents’ faces and when they anticipate the peek-a-boo they get a huge dopamine reward and generally shriek with laughter each time you go ‘peek-a-boo.’ Babies love and need lots of repetition to learn to anticipate so don’t be surprised or impatient when they want to play again and again and again!

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DISCLAIMER
This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.