Livi has always been difficult to entertain and she always had a hard time playing by herself.
When she was only a few months old and couldn’t yet sit, it was impossible to just put her down in the bouncy chair or the car seat with a few dangling toys to keep her busy. She just didn’t roll like that and she let us know, loud and clear.
Likewise, she did not like playing on a play mat, looking at books, watching her mobile, sitting in a swing or bumbo seat or exercauser, or anything else that would mean not being held and entertained by daddy or mommy.
Later we learned that this is quite typical for high need babies. They have a difficult time being or playing by themselves and grave constant entertainment, attention, and human contact.
Due to her reflux, Livi also didn’t care for tummy time. Actually, she hated it with all her heart and made it known to the world. Any attempt to entice her with a toy failed.
And therein lies one of the problems. High need babies often don’t care much for toys. Of course, that didn’t stop us from trying. There are quite a few abandoned toys in the corner and we returned just as many to the store.
Livi liked playing with other things, however. And by playing I mean she liked putting them in her mouth or holding them in her hands while being held or entertained by us.
Still among her must haves are bibs, water bottles, and, her absolute favorite, rings – the linking kind you normally use to attach an actual toy to a stroller or car seat.
The problem with any of these was that she would just hold on to them but they wouldn’t keep her occupied.
So what do you do? Livi enjoyed being close to us. She also enjoyed watching us. For a while, we were able to use a baby carrier but it didn’t last for long.
After that we sat her in her bouncy chair, gave her two of her rings, and took her with us wherever we went in the house. This way, she could watch us and we talked to her and explained what we were doing.
It didn’t work all the time or every day or for very long, but at least we didn’t have to constantly hold her and she was occupied.
Once she got bigger and could sit up, it was time to get creative. She likes moving and sorting things, so we gave her a few small baskets to put her rings in (by now she had a huge collection). That was a big hit and she still likes to move her rings from one basket to another and back again.
She also likes to stack her books on top of each other. So we usually give her a number of books while we read to her.
The trick is to be creative until you find something that works. Unfortunately, what works one day, might not work the next, so you have to keep trying.
Now that Livi is older, there are actual toys she enjoys for a few minutes. However, her attention span is still very short and she does prefer and most of the time needs us to play with her. But now we also know that as long as she has a ring in each hand, she is much easier to please.
Do you have a hard time entertaining your child? Which toys or household items does your baby enjoy? And what have you tried to keep your baby entertained?