Every parent plays Peek-a-Boo with their child. It must be written in the owner’s manual that comes with a kid…oh wait, there’s isn’t one–wouldn’t it be nice if there was?
Sometimes it helps to know why we do something–rather than just doing it because our moms, our grandmothers, and our great-grandmothers did it.
As silly as it seems, “Peek-a-Boo” actually helps a child with a very important area of development in their first year of life–object permanence. Children are born thinking that unless they can see it, it doesn’t exist. If Mom leaves the room–poof, she disappears into oblivion. If a toy is hid underneath a blanket, it is gone for good. Object permanence is a term for when a child realizes that an object doesn’t just disappear just because she can’t see it anymore. Hiding behind your hands or underneath a blanket helps your baby realize that you really are there–even when she can’t see you. This usually takes place within the first six months of your baby’s life. And moving, rolling, and crawling will most likely follow soon after. Once a baby realizes that the toy that just rolled behind the couch will be there when she crawls to find it–she is going to be much more motivated to search for it!
Another game you can play to encourage object permanence is hiding a toy underneath a blanket and then showing it to your baby. After playing this several times, your baby will start to try lifting the blanket on her own to see if it is still there!
And just for fun…here is a little “Peek-a-Boo” song we like to sing that we learned from storytime at the library: