Why Do Kids Love to Play Peekaboo?
This ancient game has been played with parents and babies for decades and has been a go to for those needing to entertain their children in the moment.
While it is clearly a lot of fun for the infant, did you know there is actually a science behind the reason they love it so much?
From facial recognition to coping with anxiety when the mother or father is away, there a many psychological and social benefits to playing peekaboo with your infant.
Why Is Playing This Game Important?
As a baby, your child hasn't yet realized that things are still there even though they can't see them.
When you have left the room, the natural thought of the infant or toddler is to think that you are gone completely and are not returning, simply because they can't visually see you and they are unable to process anything other than that.
This is a great explanation as to why children may often cry when you have left the room, and are so excited and overjoyed when they see you appear.
Association and Differentiation
After several months around a mother or father, the infant will begin to naturally associate the positive benefits that come from their presence and their daily routine.
From being held, fed, and loved, your baby will naturally attribute these things to you as a parent whenever they see you enter the room, making them naturally very happy in that moment.
The game of peekaboo provides the instant sense of fear upon the "disappearance" yet instant gratification when the parent has "reappeared" when they move their hands away from their face.
Separation and Anxiety
As they get older, many children can have separation anxiety when they are first removed from their parents for a longer amount of time.
Whether they are at day care while the parent is at work or the child is just beginning preschool, this initial time away can be tough for a child that has been virtually attached to the mother's hip since birth.
Children who regularly play peekaboo with their parents as a child though, can have a much better time transitioning from the tremendous dependence on being with the parent for an extended period of time.
By having that consistent disappearing and reappearing game to show them that the parent is not completely gone when they can't see them, they can do much better when they are separated from the parent for an entire school or workday.
By playing peekaboo with your child, you can create concrete constants for them as they grow older, helping them to associate positive things with you as well as tangible elements that will help them realize that you are around.
A few minutes a day with your baby can help set a great independent foundation for them moving forward in life.