The Magic of Everyday Moment – From new born to 6 months
01:32 | 25/03/2014
 
The Magic of Everyday Moment
Loving and Learning Through Daily Activities
 
If you are like most parents today, your greatest challenge is probably caring for your baby while also taking care of yourself and your responsibilities. The competing demands on your time and energy make finding the time to connect with your baby no small challenge. But daily activities, such as feeding, bathing and grocery shopping, don’t need to take time away from bonding with and enjoying your baby. In fact, these everyday moments are rich opportunities to encourage your child’s development by building her self-confidence, curiousity, social skills, self-control, communication skills and social skills.
 
Most of all you build her desire to learn about her world. The articles in this series are not intended to be general guides to everything that is happening at each specific age. Instead, they focus on how, through interactions with your baby during everyday moments, you can support your baby’s social, emotional and intellectual development. It’s the special interplay between parent and child that makes everyday moments so meaningful. The potential is limitless. The starting point is you.
 
 
Remember, everyday moments are rich bonding and learning opportunities. Enjoy the magic of these moments with your child.
 
Reading Your Babys Cues
 
What follows is a chart that describes what children are learning at this stage and what you can do to support the development of these new skills. As you go through the chart, it’s important to remember that every baby is an individual person, and grows and develops in her own way, at her own pace. Building a strong and close relationship with you is the foundation of her learning and her healthy growth and development.
 
Any concern about your baby’s behavior or development deserves attention. Always discuss your concerns with your child’s pediatrician or other trusted professional.
 
 
 
 
From newborn to 2 months
 
 

 

What to expect

What you can do

I NeedSupport

A newborns’ head is large in proportion to the rest of his body. In fact, until his neck muscles develop over the next6 weeks, he couldn’t possibly support it on his own.

§ Make certain to support his neck and head whenever you’re lifting him or laying him down; and make sure that his car seat and stroller are set at an angle that will keep his head from flopping forward.

§ Help strengthen those neck muscles with lots of games that involve moving his eyes (and, eventually, his head) from side to side (known as tracking) while he’s propped up or lying on his back. When he focuses on a toy, move it back and forth above him.

So Much To Hear

Research shows that infants are great listeners. By 1 month they connect sounds with their sources, and their favourite sound of all is the human voice.

§ Make it a point to talk to your infant about everything. “Now I’m going to take off that wet diaper.” “Daddy is starving. What should I eat?” Remember though, if your baby turns away when you’re talking, it may be her way of saying, “Quiet please.”

§ Be attentive to what kind of sounds your baby likes best. Some infants love music with strong beats, while others prefer softer melodies. And don’t be shy about singing. No matter how in or out of tune, she’ll like your voice best of all.

So Much To See

 

For the first 2 months, your infant will focus best on things that are 8 to 12 inches from his eyes—just the distance of your face during feeding.

 

§ Hold your baby’s toys in that optimal vision range, and try to find toys that have high contrast (black and white) and bright colours.

§ Play lots of tracking games that involve moving an object slowly from side to side while you’re talking to your baby. If he’s awake and alert, he’ll follow with his eyes.

§ Respect your baby’s cues. He’ll tell you when he needs a break by turning away or crying.

Hold Everything

Newborns have great grips, but they can’t intentionally hold on to things. They grasp on to things that you put in their palm because of a reflex that they’re born with.

§ Try to find toys that make gentle sounds when they move. The sound will draw your baby’s attention to the toy and to her hands.

§ Safety is priority number 1! Make sure all objects are too big to fit in her mouth.

 
From 2 to 4 months
 

 

 

What to expect

What you can do

I’m a Hands-On Learner

At around 3 months, when babies realize that their hands are part of their bodies and that they can control them, they delight in using them.

§Offer your baby lots of opportunities to hold, grab, poke, and wave safe objects.

§As soon as your baby develops control of his hands, you can expect him to move whatever he happens to be holding to his mouth.

§Make sure everything he holds is clean and too big to fit entirely in his mouth.

Within My Reach

Although infants can grasp things you place in their hands, they don’t begin to really reach for things until around 3 months, and they do it with both hands together.

§Lay your baby on her back, and hold a brightly colored toy over her chest within arm’s reach. She’ll delight in reaching up for it with both hands together and bringing it to her face for closer examination.

§Talk to your baby while she’s reaching out for things. Cheer her on. Even at this age, she loves to know that you appreciate her efforts.

Big Time Babbling

Between 3 and 4 months babies begin to really enjoy babbling, and there’s no one they’d rather babble to than you. They’ll progress from open vowels (ohs and ahs) to new sounds and combinations, with P’s, M’s, B’s, and D’s.

§When your baby babbles to you, don’t just babble back. Talk to him as though he understands every word you’re saying. Long before he utters his first real word he’ll understand hundreds of them as a result of these early conversations.

§Pay special attention to the rhythm of your baby’s babbles. He’ll babble and then pause, waiting for you to respond. When you say something and then pause, he’ll pick right up. This is how babies learn the art of conversation.

My Smile Says It All

Your baby’s earliest smiles (the one she does in her sleep) are reflex reactions from her early nervous system. By 2 months, however, she has a very special smile just for you, and it’s a true reflection of her love for you.

§We obviously don’t have to tell you to smile back at your baby whenever she smiles at you! We can tell you that the exchange of smiles is the earliest form of play, and it sets the stage for a lifetime of loving relationships.

§When she feels like playing, let the games begin. Blow gently on her belly, play peek-a-boo, make happy sounds and expect to see a toothless grin. If she’s not in a smiling mood it may be time for a cuddle and a cozy nap.

 
From 4 to 6 months
 

 
 

 

What to expect

What you can do

I’m in Control

 

Your baby has greater control over her body. She may be able to roll both ways, become better at reaching and grasping, and will begin to sit with assistance. She will also be able to use both hands to explore.

 

§Place your baby in different positions on her back, stomach and sitting with support. Each gives a different perspective on the world and a chance to develop different skills such as rolling, creeping and crawling, and using both hands while sitting.

§Play reaching and grasping games. Hold enticing toys just within her reach and encourage her to grab them.

I Can Do It!

 

Your baby learns how things work and that he can make things happen. He uses his new motor skills to pick up and explore objects in new ways. He will watch you to learn what to do.

 

§Give him a variety of toys with different textures, shapes, weights and functions. Join in his exploration of them.

§Show him different ways to use things: switching objects from one hand to another, shaking, banging, pushing and dropping.

What’s Next?

Your baby loves to anticipate what will happen next. She will look to you with excitement, letting you know she wants to do it again. It gives her a sense of control when she knows what to expect.

§Speak to her while getting ready to feed her, whether it’s by breast or bottle. This lets her know comfort is near and helps her learn to wait.

§Play peek-a-boo; pause briefly after you’ve “disappeared” to give her time to think about what will happen next.

§Establish routines. As much as possible, keep everyday routines in the same sequence; for example: dinner, bath, stories, lullabies, sleep.

 

All By Myself

Your baby will want to explore his food and help feed himself. Touching and tasting different foods is an important part of his learning. Feeding himself builds his self confidence.

§Let him play with your fingers and explore the bottle or breast during feedings. This may get messy; but it is an essential part of his learning as he discovers what different foods and liquids feel and taste like.

§As he grows, let him handle finger foods and encourage him to feed himself by giving him his own spoon.

I’ve Got Something to Say

 

Your baby will make lots of different sounds to you, toothier people, to her toys and to whatever else inspires her. All of this vocalizing is the foundation for speech. The more you respond, the more confident and eager she will be to keep “talking.”

 

§Listen when she talks and look right into her eyes. When she pauses, respond, and then wait. This turn taking teaches her how-to have a conversation.

§Start lots of conversations and see if she picks up your cues. But don’t forget about reading her signals. When she doesn’t want to talk, don’t push it. She may need a break.

It’s All in the Mouth

 

At 4 months, your baby is eager to explore every aspect of the world around him. He learns through his senses. Mouthing objects is just another way to “know” an object. It often has less to do with hunger or teething.

 

§Make certain that any object your baby gets his hands on is clean and safe for mouthing. That means it must be big enough not to fit entirely into his mouth, and smooth enough not to scratch or irritate. Offer toys with lots of variation in shape and texture. Bumpy, smooth, round and square are all distinctions that can be made by mouth.

Hand it Over

Four-month-olds still aren’t using their thumb to grasp things; and, as they shift from two-handed to one-handed play, they will hold things by pressing their fingers against their palms.

§Offer your baby toys that are easily grasped, with lots of handles. And make sure they’re light enough in weight for your baby to hang on to and big enough not to fit into her mouth.

Source: Zero to Three (www.zerotothree.org)

 

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