How Much Should a 3-Month-Old Play (4 Ways You Can Help With Playtime)

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Play is an infant’s work. They need plenty of time to do it every day. Play is vital in a 3-month-old’s development. It is how they interact and learn about their world and their bodies.

How Much Should a 3-Month-Old Play

How much should a 3-month-old play? 3-month-old babies need as much time as possible to play. Play is important for their overall health and well-being. Regular playtime is important so they can grow and develop physically and psychologically. Playtime for 3-month-olds should be done with parents and responsible adults but they should be allowed at least one hour of unstructured and free play and at least 30 mins of structured, adult-led play.

At Least One Hour of Unstructured and Free Play

Babies at three months should be allowed to play as much as possible without sacrificing food and rest. Allow your baby at least one hour of free and unstructured play with supervision, of course.

Give them time to explore toys and learning materials on their own.

By doing so, you are giving them freedom and starting them to enjoy their independence.

At Least 30 Minutes of Structured, Adult-Led Activities

Playtime with babies three months or younger should be done together with responsible adults. Make sure they get at least 30 minutes of active, adult-led, structured play every day. The more playtime the better.

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    Do not overdo it though. Allow them to rest, feed, and hydrate. Alternate playtime and downtime.

    Play, feeding, and rest are equally important for the baby’s full development.

    Development at 3 Months

    At three months, babies are extremely curious about their bodies, movement,  environment, and people. At this age, they are:

    • Learning about language and communication. They mainly communicate by crying but they also start to attempt to speak. They make sounds like “ahh,” “gooh,” and “cooh.” They start to recognize your voice and their name. They turn their heads when they hear you.
    • Learning about emotions. They start to laugh, smile, giggle, frown, and cry when they see, hear, and feel things. They are also curious about your emotions through your tone of voice and facial expressions.
    • Extra fussing and crying have settled. You will have a clearer idea of why they fuss and cry at this age.
    • They start to reach out to grab things and put them in their mouths. They love to play, investigate and look at objects closely. Most of the time, they get cross-eyed when they are staring at things close, which is normal.
    • They use their hands and fingers more. They love to stare at their hands and fingers in amazement.
    • Their necks are stronger so they have better control of their head movement. They need less support, especially when sitting up.
    • They love to move and start rolling from tummy to back. This is their first attempt at claiming their independence.

    How You Can Help Your 3-Month-Old Enjoy Playtime and Develop

    Simple activities and play can help your baby make sense of their world. Here are some activities you can do with them at three months old.

    Smile at Them

    When your baby sees your smile, it releases endorphins that make them feel happy. Smiling is one way of introducing emotions to them. It will form a healthy attachment for both you and your baby and with other members of the family.

    Talk to Your Baby

    They may not talk or fully understand you yet but babies at 3 months old are starting to learn language and communication. Help them develop their understanding of language and language skills by talking to them in a clear but gentle voice.

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    Describe things to them in simple words. Observe how they react and listen to their reply. Mimic an actual conversation where you talk, they listen. And when they talk back, you listen in return.

    Make eye contact and make facial expressions to show different emotions. This will help them learn the link between words and feelings.

    Play Together

    Playing with your 3-month-old helps you get to know each other. It makes them feel loved, confident, and secure.

    Sing songs with them, read books, do tummy time, and play with toys.

    Prepare Your Home

    At three months old, babies start to move a lot and attempt to roll over. Some babies have even mastered rolling at three months old. You will be surprised at how fast they can roll.

    Baby-proof your home for a curious and moving baby. Use baby barriers or baby gates to keep them from falling or getting into unsafe areas.

    Make sure there are no shard ends and sharp objects in their area. Remove potential falling objects, choking hazards, and blankets and large pillows that can smother them. Put safety features on doors and other areas that can pinch them.

    Benefits of Play for 3 Months Old Babies

    • Promotes dexterity, develops muscles, and strength
    • Helps with emotional development
    • Boosts self-confidence
    • Increase creativity and imagination
    • Promotes social interaction
    • Keeps babies engaged
    • Stimulates their bodies, minds, and senses
    • Develop curiosity and exploration

    FAQs

    Why do 3-month-olds get cranky during playtime? Getting cranky is a baby’s way of telling you that they are tired, hungry, thirsty, overwhelmed, or they are not interested. Look for cues. Let your baby tell you what they want. Check if they need their nappies changed. Children get tired and hungry quickly. They don’t get cranky for no reason.

    How do I know if my 3-month-old is getting enough play time? Your baby will give you cues if they are getting too much or less playtime. Babies cry, fuss, and get cranky if they are overstimulated, tired, or bored.

    What are age-appropriate plays for 3-month-olds? You can check our recommended activities above but if you need more, you can ask your pediatrician or research more activities.

    Summary

    Three-month-old babies need as much time as possible to play. Play is important for their overall health and well-being. Regular playtime is important so they can grow and develop physically and psychologically. Playtime for 3-month-olds should be done with parents and responsible adults but they should be allowed at least one hour of unstructured and free play and at least 30 mins of structured, adult-led play.