Why doesn’t my baby want to play?

Playing is good for development, but sometimes a baby doesn’t want to play. There may be several reasons why a baby does not want or cannot play by himself. This makes it difficult for a young baby to entertain himself. He cannot keep his attention on the game for very long and is limited in his options. But even older babies sometimes find it difficult to play alone, because together it is much more fun. However, it is possible to teach your baby to play independently, for example by encouraging him to do so and by not disturbing him while playing.

Playing is good for development

A baby develops his motor skills by playing. This makes his muscles stronger and he can control them better. A baby also develops its cognitive ability. This means that he learns to think and understand. Playing is also important for social development, a baby learns the basic principles of playing together. A baby and a toddler do not really play together yet, but next to each other. From toddlerhood onwards, a child becomes interested in other children and starts playing together more often.

A baby aged 1-3 months

A young baby needs a lot of attention and physical contact. His vision is limited, his muscles are insufficiently developed and he is easily distracted or tired. A young baby cannot really play yet. What you can do is sing and talk to the baby. Trying to make contact. Because vision is still limited, hold the baby about 25 centimeters from your face. This way he can see you better. Later he will try to touch your face. The hands, which are still closed after birth, open when the baby grows a little and he will try to grab something. Then he likes a soft rattle or a cuddly toy.

A baby of 4-6 months

From about three months onwards, the baby discovers its hands and then its feet. He can have fun with this for a while. Moving toys in the primary colors, red, green, yellow and blue now attract his attention. During this period the baby will also start to grasp his toys, for example a rattle. Every day the baby learns new things and can have fun with them. The parent or caregiver plays together with the baby, but also lets him play alone for a while. This way, a baby learns that there is not someone available for him all day long and he gets the opportunity to discover things for himself.

What is the baby playing with?

The baby likes to play with soft cuddly toys, blocks, books and rattles. He also likes toys in primary colors. This can be a mobile or activity center. You can hang this above the box or place it in the box. The baby listens to the sounds and music and will try to grab the toy.

Learning to sit

From four months onwards the baby will make attempts to sit up. At first only with support, but between the fifth and sixth month it is already possible to sit alone for a few seconds. Then the world becomes bigger and he can see around him better. Visibility is also getting better. The baby can see objects and follows the people around him.

A baby aged 6-12 months

The baby discovers the world around him. He controls his muscles better and better and can move himself. It is good that the baby also plays in the playpen occasionally so that he learns to concentrate on something. From nine months onwards, a baby develops fine motor skills. He starts to imitate things and can play hide and seek.

Learning to crawl, stand, and walk

During this period the baby learns to crawl, stand and some babies can even walk. The baby can now move around on its own and explore its environment. His vision is much better, he can now perceive soft colors and depth.

What is the baby playing with?

The baby likes to play with a ball. Rolling the ball towards each other is a fun game. The baby can build with blocks made of plastic, wood or fabric. The baby also likes to play with: Duplo, puzzles, toys with sound, a walker, music table and books.

Why doesn’t my baby want to play?

A baby wants the attention of its parents or caregivers, playing together is much more fun. Still, it is better that a baby learns to entertain himself, it is good for his development. However, sometimes this does not work, the baby does not want to play, possible causes are:

  • The baby does not feel well, he becomes ill or is ill. Rest is important in this case, as soon as he recovers the desire to play increases.
  • The baby is tired or distracted by people or things around him. A baby cannot play for long and needs rest. Put the baby to bed, in a quiet environment he can babble a bit and play with his hands and feet.
  • The baby has too many toys. If the baby has a lot of toys around him, he cannot concentrate and is too distracted. Always give two to three toys at a time and alternate them regularly.
  • The toys are not interesting, colored toys attract the baby’s attention. Neutral (e.g. wooden) toys without color are less attractive to play with. Toys that no longer suit the age of the baby are also unattractive. Please note that the toys are appropriate for your baby’s development.
  • The baby doesn’t want to be alone. Let him play near you and teach him that you will always come back.
  • The baby is used to attention, now it is difficult for him to play alone because he has not learned to do so. Alternate playing together with playing alone.
  • The baby needs an incentive to start playing, help him get started by offering some toys.


Do not disturb while playing

A baby can be completely absorbed in his play, but if he is distracted he will not be able to get back to playing. Leave the child alone during play. Don’t talk to him, stay a bit away and don’t ask anything.