As a new parent, you鈥檝e got tons of questions. There鈥檚 so much you need to know, like how to deal with separation anxiety as a working mom聽or how exactly to travel with a newborn. Sure, you read dozens of books about how to parent while pregnant, but now that your babe is here, you don鈥檛 have time to read the millions of parenting聽books out there. You want to spend quality time with your kiddo, but beyond bath time, you鈥檙e wondering what you can do to聽squeeze the most learning聽and fun into every minute. We chatted with Randy McCoy, the curriculum director at The Little Gym, about seven simple ways to engage your baby in some developmental learning that鈥檚 fun for both of you.

Happy parents with baby girl standing on mum芒聙聶s knee

1. Divide and conquer.聽With the many responsibilities that come with parenthood 鈥 diaper changes, baths and meal time 鈥 chores such as doing the dishes and sweeping suddenly seem like Herculean tasks. Split the household duties with your partner so that one of you is with the baby and the other is taking care of the little things that keep your house running. 鈥淚f moms and dads make a concerted effort to divide up and share these responsibilities, then some dads might find themselves with more quality time with their children,鈥 says Randy. If you鈥檙e a parent of multiples, consider hiring a housekeeper so you can spend more time with your little ones. It鈥檚 totally okay to have a messy house too!

2. Class it up.聽It can be tough those first few months without another adult to talk to other than your partner. Look for Mommy, Daddy +聽Me classes in your area that are age appropriate to socialize with other new parents who are going through the same joys and fears as you. 鈥淣ot only do Parent/Child programs offer activities that parents can do with their child at home, they also provide valuable developmental information too,鈥 says Randy. Plus, you can bond with other parents about milestones like crawling, eating first foods and rolling over.

mother reading a book

3. Get chatty.聽From newborns through the first year of their lives, babies are adorable little sponges who absorb every detail, sight and sound around them. So the best thing you can do to boost their language skills is talk to them often, even if it feels a little silly. 鈥淧layful speech 鈥 higher pitched with inflections 鈥 helps develop language skills in babies,鈥 says Randy. 鈥淵our baby is listening, watching and taking it all in. They are hearing the sound of your voice, watching the movements of your mouth and tongue and hearing the individual sounds of the words you speak.鈥 Pick up board books to read out loud to your baby. Narrate throughout their diaper change. Talk about your day. Have fun and don鈥檛 be afraid to bust out some silly voices too.

4. Give 鈥檈m a song.聽Music for babies doesn鈥檛 have to be limited to nursery rhymes. You can make a playlist of your favorite tunes and sing while giving them a bath. Make up songs about anything and everything. Your baby isn鈥檛 judging your not-so-American-Idol voice. They just enjoy the sound of your voice, since they鈥檝e been listening to you since day one from the womb.

Little baby girl playing with her mother

5. Get down on the floor.聽Play time is learning time for your kiddo and is a great way for some quality one-on-one time. 鈥淧utting your baby on the floor with a variety of colorful and interesting things to reach for and look at accomplishes two things. One, it鈥檚 a great way to exercise the muscles of their back and core. Two, it stimulates their sense of touch and sight,鈥 says Randy. Randy suggests cuddling, rocking them back and forth and trying out different movements and motions. In short, play like you鈥檙e聽a kid!

6. Cuddle up.聽If you鈥檙e a working parent, you might be stressing out how to squeeze in all of this quality time before and after your full-time job. Randy says that at least one hour every day will go a long way. Daily activities like diaper changes, getting your baby ready for bed and story time are all times to focus solely on your baby with plenty of kisses and cuddles afterward. 鈥淗olding, cuddling, kissing and hugging are all quality moments that allow for maximum parent-child bonding,鈥 says Randy. Those sweet baby cheeks are practically begging for unlimited smooches from Mom and Dad.

7. Feast for the senses.聽Your baby鈥檚 brain is developing every single day. Provide them with lots of sensory input to get their five senses working. 鈥淢ake their environment interesting and stimulating. It鈥檚 one of the best things you can do with your baby,鈥 says Randy. Let them hang out in their high chair while you cook dinner to engage their sense of smell. Play different types of music or offer musical toys. Give them different textures to feel. Offer colorful toys that make sounds when shaken. Talk about your day with them. Even if they don鈥檛 respond to every single thing you鈥檙e doing, just know that they鈥檙e taking it all in.

Did we miss any of your best tips for bonding with your kids? Tweet us @BritandCo with your suggestions.

(Photos via Getty)