How to Have Fun With a Boring Baby (And, Yes, Babies Can Be Boring)
There are several weeks where babies aren’t really doing anything particularly interesting on the surface. That’s the time to explore.
Parents who have passed the adrenaline peak of infancy may suddenly realize that their two-month-old baby is kind of boring. This weeks-long lull occurs after routines have been established but the cascade of social-media friendly milestones, like rolling over and crawling, are still on the horizon. It’s an easy phase for parents to start establishing “phubbing” behavior instead of making an active effort to have fun. But that’s likely due to a parents misunderstanding of the resilience and flexibility many babies possess.
“Our lives rotate around our kids but we don’t recognize we have a lot more flexibility than it seems,” explains positive psychologist Dr. Robert Zeitlin, author of Laugh More, Yell Less: A Guide to Raising Kick-Ass Kids. He notes that parents often feel like they’re trapped by a baby’s schedule, or may worry too much about their child’s fragility. “There’s a way to explore and expose our baby to fun things in different surroundings. And at the same time expose them to a different part of us that’s having fun.”
Talk to a friend with more than one child. They will happily explain that by the time child two or three comes along, any semblance of careful adherence to a strict schedule and cloistered babyhood goes out the window. It’s not that the second baby is any different. New parents have just relaxed a little.
“We get in these silos, but there are opportunities for alliances across fathers to get insights and different perspectives,” Zeitlin says. “Find a father who recognizes that babies are a little bit more portable and hardy than we think and can nap in different places.”
How to Have Fun with a Boring Baby
- Connect with other dads who are getting out with their babies.
- Shake off the worry and get out of the house.
- Look for outdoor activities or those that you enjoy and can be done safely with a baby in tow
- Work on intentionally connecting and communicating when at home, rather than picking up a phone.
But specifically, Zeitlin notes, that this does not mean parents need to head straight to a Mommy and Me class or the local Gymboree to rub elbows with other parents. In fact, the whole idea is to take a baby places where parents specifically find joy and fulfillment. (Within reason, of course. Don’t take the kid to the champagne room.)
“Go to places that interest you and light you up,” explains Zeitlin. “There’s a way to be more present doing things that interest us.” Particularly, he says, if those places are outdoors and accommodate babywearing activities. Who knows, strapping on a baby might actually improve your golf swing.
But while going out might help a parent relieve the boredom, there’s a greater challenge for parents engaging a baby at home. But rising to that challenge with a specific intention to connect with a kid can ameliorate the boredom.
“One of the cool things about babies is that you have someone there for whom life is quite simple,” explains Zeitlin. “It gives you an opportunity, if you want to do the work, to practice being a little more simple in your approach to things.”
That means being present and offering focus to a child. It means speaking with them, reading to them, and singing to them, even if it appears that the effort isn’t yielding entertaining results. It’s important to understand that this focused interaction will pay dividends down the road.
“It’s a hard thing to do and something that is worth the effort,” Zeitlin explains. “They are, at some level, needing connections and trying to make connections. It might not be a fun time, but it’s a very important time to be present.”