Baby development starts before your little one is born and is an ongoing journey throughout their infant years and beyond. The more they grow, the more aware they become and the more their neurological system begins to develop — that’s why it’s important to set them up for success by creating learning-friendly environments and helping them reach developmental milestones.
In the first year alone, your little one will learn to explore, grab objects, reach out, and focus their vision and verbal communication. These stages are essential to healthy development.
Here’s how you can help encourage your infant’s development.
From the moment your baby is born and in your arms, the most important thing you can contribute to their development is to provide them with human contact — holding them close to you through skin-on-skin contact, singing or talking to them, and making sure your face is visible to them frequently so they learn to focus their eyesight.
Around the two-to-three-month mark, your child will begin to try and mimic your facial expressions — so be sure to smile and smile often.
Lots of Tummy Time
Developing your infant’s head and neck control, in addition to their overall movement, starts with tummy time. Tummy time is time spent on their stomachs and is the first step to building their motor skills.
During this stage, it’s important to have the right pieces in place to help foster a safe and comfortable environment. Brands like Wunderkids provide non-toxic playmats designed for tummy time and building on those developmental skills.
It’s important to remember that tummy time may not always be your child’s favorite — so be sure to ease them into the experience.
Develop Their Senses
Around the second and third months, you may notice your child becoming more aware and inquisitive of their surroundings. This is an important part of their development as you can start to introduce new textures.
During this stage, let them touch and feel different textures in your home — items that are soft, smooth, rough, and at varying mild temperatures. It can also help to verbalize what they’re touching to help improve their language and motor skills.
Respond to Their Needs
In the early stages of your baby’s development, they’re more dependent on you than ever. Since they cannot yet verbalize what they need when they need it, it’s important that you’re attentive when they’re fussing or crying. By being there consistently when they’re upset and giving them a regular routine of naps and feedings, your child can develop independence and security in their home environment.
Once your child reaches the six months mark, their motor skills have likely begun to develop at a faster rate, and they’re learning to sit up on their own and grab onto objects. This is where the importance of playtime comes in.
Ensure your home has enough sensory toys that are designed to stimulate them and encourage them to move around — think of toys that roll, light up, and sing songs. These toys are a fundamental part of your child’s development process.