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Activities for a 4-month-old?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I asked this before when my baby was a little younger and didn't really get much in the way of helpful answers, just a lot of people telling me that I didn't need to do anything to entertain her at this age - just put her in a sling and hold her close and go about my business. Hah, NOT!

So, here's my problem. My 4-month-old is very active. Extremely active. She has been since she was about 10 or 11 weeks old. She is extremely high-needs and can't sit still at all. I love playing with her, but it's always the same games over and over and I'm really not enjoying these activities anymore. I do each of them probably twenty times a day!

She does NOT like slings at all and I do have one of every single type. She will sit in one when we go out, but never in the house. She wants to be out and free and running around, even though she's not old enough to run around yet. It's so exhausting!

So, here is what she hates:
-water. PERIOD.
-slings
-sitting still
-massage
-music (I know, weird kid, right?) except me singing
-the car
-any calm activity like reading (for the most part), being held quietly, etc.

What I'm doing right now that she likes:
-letting her look at herself in the mirror
-playing kissing/tickling games on the bed or floor
-letting her bat the toys on her play mat while I jingle them or wiggle her legs
-going for walks (she tolerates short walks only)
-finger-play songs like the itsy bitsy spider
-rattling/crinkling objects
-putting a crinkly bag or paper under her feet for her to kick
-reading (she doesn't allow this for more than maybe five minutes a day if that)
-five minutes of tummy time a day which is also as much as she will allow
-swinging her around by her hips (this elicits PEALS of laugher!)
-Peek-a-boo games
-carrying her in funny ways - like upside down - to keep her from getting upset.

She has to be amused constantly. I'm jealous of those moms who can put their babies down for ten minutes and the baby sits there and plays happily alone with whatever toy they happen to have or babies that sit quietly and watch intently whatever is going on around them.

She's very social and won't play with toys. She likes when I hold something up for her, but she's still not holding things at all. She likes to touch only (and rarely) - no holding objects. She will stare at something with interest, but if I put it in her had, she will drop it and turn her head away and not want to look at it again. It's so weird.

Except for naptime, our days are pretty much me flying from one activity to the next to keep her occupied and those activities usually are pretty intensive. I feel like I've got to be standing on my head while doing the polka and making animal noises while blowing my nose twelve hours a day just so she will be happy. Understand it's not me trying to be supermom. It's HER. I'm following her cues, trying to prevent meltdowns, and man she's wearing me out!

Please help me think of new things to make it more interesting before I lose my mind. She just wants to go go GO! and doing the same things over and over again is making me feel like it's work and not play.
post #2 of 21
How would you feel about an exersaucer, or even better (I think) a Jumperoo -- kind of like a jolly jumper but in a stable floor-based frame. My 6 month old LOVES to jump and jump and jump and while I usually need to be close, and sometimes sitting on the floor playing with her while she jumps, it does give her a chance to burn some energy and gives my tired arms a break while still very much being with her. There are toys on it that may interest your LO, or maybe not, but the jumping is a lot of fun!

Good luck Mama, it sounds like you're doing a great job. I found the first 4 months really boring...so hopefully you find some new activities to do together.

Oh, one more thing - mine loves being outside looking at leaves and flowers, especially when it's windy. She also enjoys music sing-alongs (yes, with me singing) at the library. Is that an option?
post #3 of 21
My babe is 5 months old, and is very active too! She learned to crawl at 4 months, and pull up to stand at 4.5 months, so floor time is big right now. She is also one who will enjoy the sling/carrier SO LONG AS I am moving rather quickly. Not while I'm doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, ect. My little one loves to crawls over, under and through things, so we put soft gym blocks on the floor for her and she will happily crawl and play for a long while. She is also very social, so going out and people talking to her is fun for her as well. She also loves water, which I know your baby isn't crazy about. What about sitting on the grass? Or on sand? Ella likes textured things, so this has been fun for her. What about going to the park and swinging in a swing? Ella LOVES this! Being outside, watching the kids, and swinging is totally fun for her.
post #4 of 21
Library story time for babies is a good one.

I didn't have one, but with all that energy she is a perfect candidate for a Jumperoo. Check craigslist!
post #5 of 21
I forgot to add, that just before Ella (and my first dd) started to crawl (Abby at 5 months, Ella at 4), they became near impossible!!! They KNEW they could move somewhere, they WANTED to move, but their little bodies just didn't get them there. As soon as they could crawl, it made a world of difference!

Oh and any saucer/jumper thing only kept them happy for 3-5 minutes. If your babe is as active as mine, she will get bored easily in those. I would advise you borrow one first for a week or two. They are pretty expensive to buy and have your baby not like it!
post #6 of 21
I second the exersaucer idea. My dd (now 5 mo) likes to be entertained too (but will sit by herself for a few minutes if she has enough toys around). At 4 mo she didn't really pick up toys that much, but she did like the exersaucer. I borrowed one from a friend b/c I wasn't sure she'd like it, but she did. So, give it a try. It usually lasts about 15 mins for me, which is enough time to eat a quick lunch, take a breath, etc. Also, my dd loves to sit in the grass (as someone else suggested), so you might try that. We've been doing some Itsy Bity Yoga too, which she likes (she hates massage too).

Good luck to you!
post #7 of 21
My DD was pretty much the same, now that I have a calmer boy, I realize how intense she was...

My boy now is calmer, but not less curious or active. One thing I do to keep him busy is to hand him all sorts of stuff. He gets pretty bored with his toys in a matter of days (can concentrate in a new toy a lot, but once it's all explored, he looses interest), so I gave up on toys. Magazines, pieces of paper, clothes, spoons, food packages, etc., are hits. Of course I have to be right by his side because they are not really safe, but it amuses him a lot.

4 mo can be a difficult age, they are much more aware of the world, but they don't have the abilities to fully explore it. I found with both my kids that once they were able to master their hands, sit up unassisted and move around on the floor, life was much much easier on me.

I second the idea of a jumperoo/excersaucer. I had a hand me down, and it amused him for some time (10-20 min?), it was another activity during the day. I don't know if they are worth the money for a new one, though, my lo is (at 6 mo) already bored with his...

Of course, what works the best is getting out of the house, but it's not something you are always up to...
post #8 of 21
Hey, my DS is 4 months old and also doesn't like the sling. So don't worry. Not all babies do, even though some will try to tell you that you're doing it wrong: My baby does like the Ergo now though (he used to hate it) but I don't think babywearing suggestions are what you are looking for!

I do lots of excercising games w/ Pascal. He lays on the floor, I hold his hands, and pull him to sitting. Then he pulls himself to standing. He loves standing. I have a johnny-jump-up (hereafter JJU) that he will tolerate for about 15 minutes while I shower or something, but only since I took some of his toys and tied them to a ribbon and tied the ribbon across the straps of the jju. If you could borrow a jju maybe she'd like it?

You can also tie ribbons to her wrists and legs, or rattles or noisemakers (supervised) and she may entertain herself w/out having to hold onto anything. Keep handing her stuff. Pascal has just started really holding stuff in the last two weeks, before he had no interest. He still drops it all the time, but he's learning. Good luck!!
post #9 of 21
Got another sling hater. He loved his Infantino carrier until recently, now he digs the Ergo... but only as long as I am walking briskly. Or daddy's doing the wearing.

I've noticed if I have several things going at once, like music AND the play gym, it seems to help on fussy days. Just the play gym isn't enough sometimes. I WAH, so he has to be able to play next to me regardless of how much I want to hold him.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernPixie View Post
How would you feel about an exersaucer, or even better (I think) a Jumperoo -- kind of like a jolly jumper but in a stable floor-based frame. My 6 month old LOVES to jump and jump and jump and while I usually need to be close, and sometimes sitting on the floor playing with her while she jumps, it does give her a chance to burn some energy and gives my tired arms a break while still very much being with her. There are toys on it that may interest your LO, or maybe not, but the jumping is a lot of fun!

Good luck Mama, it sounds like you're doing a great job. I found the first 4 months really boring...so hopefully you find some new activities to do together.

Oh, one more thing - mine loves being outside looking at leaves and flowers, especially when it's windy. She also enjoys music sing-alongs (yes, with me singing) at the library. Is that an option?
Actually, she can't sit up yet, so the jumping/sitting toys are not yet doable. (Even if they were, we can't afford to buy one but might be able to find something second-hand.)

Our library doesn't do sing-alongs. In any case, they are very far away and I can only afford to make a library trip twice a month or so

Yeah, I do take her on walks outside to look at leaves and things. She's not interested in anything but the dog right now, but following the dog around so she can watch it at least gives my brain a break
post #11 of 21
Here's a list of things my 4 1/2 month old loves

Mirrors--try putting one on the floor in front of her during tummy time, it might encourage her to lengthen her time on the floor

The kissy game-- he loves when I kiss his belly, makes him laugh and giggle

singing silly songs (current favorites are the I love you song from guys and dolls, dancin baby, and the shiny the hiny song)

playing our piano (we hold him in our lap and let him press on the keys)

playing with his phone rattle

the "super flying baby" game

the "sit and fall game" (he is sort of starting to sit, and we sit him on our bed and balance him and then see how long he'll hold it before he falls backward... when he falls, we say "WHEEE!" really loudly)

the laughing game (I make myself laugh at him and he just loves it)

my dad makes tents with him out of receiving blankets and they crawl under it

we read books and look at the pictures

at daycare, his teacher held him at the table and put some crayons in his hand with a piece of paper underneath and he scribbled on it

I think that when dh and I are eating, I'm going to start putting a small cube of frozen breastmilk on his high chair tray and letting him experiment with it

The dancing baby game

baby yoga
post #12 of 21
I have this book:

125 Brain Games for Babies by Jackie Silberg

got it a couple months ago in the discounts section of Barnes and Noble. They probaby still have it. 5 bucks!

Let me know if you want me to start posting things the book suggests. Watching a movie right now...
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmagrlpa View Post
I have this book:

125 Brain Games for Babies by Jackie Silberg

got it a couple months ago in the discounts section of Barnes and Noble. They probaby still have it. 5 bucks!

Let me know if you want me to start posting things the book suggests. Watching a movie right now...
yes, post some ideas!
post #14 of 21
Does baby like other people? I'm not that much of a joiner, but mother and baby groups, taking DS to the very local supermarket where everyone knows him, play-dates where he could chew other children's toys, etc. all helped.

Sarah
post #15 of 21
I like this post... my daughter is also 4 1/2 m. old.
She's also super high energy, and gets very frustrated very quickly and needs lots of stimulation when she's not on the boob.

My best days are when I can take her outside. Just being outside, looking at plants/ nature makes her happy. I think she gets bored being in the house all day. She also seems to get bored if she's just with me for long stretches, so social interaction seems really important for her. I also try to meet other moms or friends, or just talk to people when I'm out and about. Going to the park is good, cause she can watch the other kids, even if she can't play, I will "fly" her around and she can watch and wiggle. I also take her to Music Together 1x week, which she LOVES- dancing and playing instruments & singing & being around other kids. She also loves farmer's market, & story time at the library. I also sometimes take her to the park to lay on a blanket on the grass. Just looking up at the trees & birds calms her down somewhat.

I am also working lately on making sure she gets enough sleep during the day. This can make a big difference on her mood. If she hasn't napped, she can get really fussy and upset really quickly.
post #16 of 21
Ahhh...nice to see that we're not the only ones! We went through a time of acclimating DD to swing/bouncy chair. We found that sometimes what appeared to be "I'm bored" fusiness was really, "Just leave me alone for a few minutes." We started putting her in swing or chair for a few minutes at a time, and extending by a short time each day. Making sure she had access to toys if she wanted them, or not if she was getting overstimulated. She'll now stay in one or the other long enough for us to eat, usually.

I second the other people thing - DD is fascinated with other people, especially kids. Not only will just being around them keep her entertained, but it wears her out (so she might actually nap for more than 20 min.).

Outside is also key - settles her right down to go for a hike.

Oh - one trick for tummy time that has helped us, is roll up a towel into a cylinder shape & use it as a bolster under her chest. This gives her more freedom to explore with her hands and lets her work on pushing herself up higher, but with less frustration. We don't do it all the time, but it does seem to help lessen the frustration of not being able to move!
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmagrlpa View Post
I have this book:

125 Brain Games for Babies by Jackie Silberg

got it a couple months ago in the discounts section of Barnes and Noble. They probaby still have it. 5 bucks!

Let me know if you want me to start posting things the book suggests. Watching a movie right now...
That would be awesome! (and so you don't have to waste time with some, I'm not able to buy things and my house is super tiny. We're very poor so it's got to be easy to get if it involves some kind of neat device)
post #18 of 21
Rowan's four months and two days, and I know what you mean! She doesn't like the Ergo either--well actually, I've been too scared to try it again for a month or so. She doesn't mind tummy time, and she LOVES lying on her back with her nappy off and kicking and batting at toys. But she can't do that all day.

So today we joined a toy library! We brought home an exersaucer and a toy that goes ping. Rowan isn't sitting up yet either, but she does have a strong head and neck. We just wedged a rolled-up towel around her in the exersaucer to make her all snugged in, and her feet touched the ground, and it was fine. She had a blast! Now I just need to tell myself sternly not to over-use it when I want to get things done...

We're also going to start doing a Mainly Music class and a playgroup every so often. I decided I needed to do more outside activities with her, because if left to myself I tend to sit at the computer all day and not even emerge to check the mail (I know, I know, bad). I figure if I go to either a Mainly Music or a playgroup session every week, plus the mothers-with-babies Bible study I've just started, plus occasional visits to my next-door-neighbor-with-twins-and-a-bigger-girl, plus occasionally walking to Daddy's work to walk him home, plus the (very!) occasional trip into town or visit to the public gardens with my mother and little sisters... well, at least she'll grow up knowing what sky looks like. Right? :
post #19 of 21
ds loves sitting & standing, he'll just sit, stand over & over - like a jump, this is so much easier on me because all i do is hold his hands, he's been doing this since about 3mo. My mom has some song she sings to him in hebrew, I just sing sit & stand. he's 8.5mo & now is more interested in standing, but when he's really playful he'll just keep jumping.

he also loves outside time.

he loves to kick, around 4mo in the car we put this toy by his feet & he now likes the car
http://www.leapfrog.com/en/families/...uluspider.html
post #20 of 21
My DD gets tired of stuff semi-quickly, so we go from station to station in our home throughout the day. A little time sitting in her bebe pod (I bought this used, and it's good for helping them sit up and learn balance), some time in her bouncer, a little time on the play gym, some time in the swing, some time in the jumperoo, some time on my lap facing me and talking/making sounds/silly faces, watching a baby einstein dvd together, reading books, playing kissy/tickling games that make her laugh, looking in the mirror in the bathroom, helping her stand now that she's starting to enjoy putting pressure on her legs. Sometimes it's hard when you just want to lie down and take a nap or when you want to take a shower and get dressed and they just don't want to be without you for even a second, so I know how you feel.
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