Peek-a-boo, I see you! Isn’t it wonderful how babies squeal with delight at this simple game?
Peek-a-boo is not just great fun for you and your baby, it can actually teach the important concept of object permanence. At first your baby will think that when an object disappears, it no longer exists. However, playing peek-a-boo can help your baby learn that even if something is momentarily hidden, it is still there. This is a great concept for babies to learn as it can help with separation anxiety – your baby will begin to understand that when you leave that you are not ‘gone forever’ and will return.
Playing games like peek-a-boo with your baby is also a terrific source of nourishment for her growing brain and soul. In recent years, experts have begun to more clearly understand the importance of mommy and daddy’s smiling eyes, not only for baby’s visual and cognitive development, but for her psychosocial and spiritual development as well.
Even though babies don’t usually start playing peek-a-boo until around seven months, their interest in your eyes begins as early as about three and a half weeks. Infants love to look at people’s faces, especially their own mommy’s and daddy’s, and they gradually put together a full picture of their parents’ unique faces by about six months.
Each time you get face-to-face with your baby, smiling and gazing into her eyes, you’re actually fueling every area of her development. Physically, your smile is the spark that signals her brain to grow. Socially, you’re laying the groundwork for her to have healthy and secure intimate relationships. Emotionally and spiritually, you’re building her capacity to experience love and joy.
During these mini-moments when your baby is the apple of your eye, you are giving her the best possible start in life simply by letting her know that she is lovable and that you’re glad to be with her.
In fact, the nutrition she gets from your smile is every bit as important to her emotional health and growth as milk is to her little body.