I love children and being a psychology major, really enjoy observing them grow and pass milestones as they become little adults. Here is my first in the series:
0 to 6 Months – babyhood, milestones, what to expect and how can you help?
You have a new baby! Congratulations! It’s not just time for late night feedings and diapers changes, we are sure you have hopes and dreams for his/her future. How can you help your child have a great start at life? This question is probably on your mind even before your baby is born! Your child’s best teacher is you, the parent!
My friend Reena made the effort to talk to and play small games with her baby from the time she was born, at one year little Tara now talks non-stop! Not all babies are going to talk at 12 months but knowing what to do can make a difference.
Your baby’s brain is developing at a tremendous rate up to the age of three. Your baby is receptive to language, the world around him and physical growth at a speed that will never be repeated at any other stage of life!
Her eyes may focus only a short distance at first so keep showing her faces as babies are responsive to human faces. Baby’s siblings’, parents’, and grandparents’ faces are all of interest to her at this stage.
Talking & Music:
Play soft music and sing to your baby. For the first eight weeks, soft classical music is very comforting for the baby. You can also sing softly to your baby as you feed, wash or change him. Talking and smiling to your baby is a good way to get the baby to communicate and respond with smiles and the wriggling of her body and waving her hands and legs. Keep room lights soft and harsh sunlight out of the baby’s room till about 8 weeks also. Remember this is a whole new world to your baby who only knew the lights and sounds coming into the womb.
As your baby starts to stay awake for longer periods of time have some colorful toys hung within 30 cm of his face. That’s as far as he can focus for now. Montessori recommends black or white hanging toys at first, but you can use whatever colors you like as long as they don’t fall on the baby! Remember to suspend the toys so that it is within easy reach so your baby can try to grab at the toys as he starts to understand that he has limbs. You can also show toys and get your baby to track the toy with his eyes as you move it around.
Looking at the world:
Around the third month, your baby can be slowly introduced to the rest of the world. Take her to another room in the house, outside and around and about as you do your shopping and other tasks. It’s also time to turn baby onto her stomach so that she can see the world from a whole new angle. Lie down next to your baby and show her toys and objects around you and name them too. Put toys or other objects so she can reach for them. Tummy time is important to show your baby that she can turn over and it builds her core muscles. Please turn your baby over on her back if she falls asleep to avoid any chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
By the time your baby is six months old he will take a lot of interest in the world around him. He will reach for objects and explore them by putting them into his mouth and use his hands too. Use soft toys that are brightly colored and non-toxic for this kind of exploration. They love bright toys and those that make noise. Make sure there are no small parts to the toys that can come off.
Babies not only love music but it also helps them to pick up communication skills. Rhythm and rhyming are both part of language skill development. As they grow older to 4-6 months you can try different activities to develop motor skills.
Picking out toys carefully is an important way to help young children to develop fine motor skills and help them to discover the world of shapes and sizes in a fun way.
And don’t forget to take plenty of photos, capture these moments before they are gone in a flash!