Baby Development - But What Role do Parents Play?
It is truly amazing the development that a baby experiences in the first year of life. Every week seems to bring another milestone for parents as well as baby! The primary way a baby learns is through play and baby games, it is how they start to make sense of their world. By providing a nurturing and safe environment for our babies we help to promote this learning that aids their early development.
The main groups for baby development in the first year are
1.Cognitive - relating to learning and problem solving
2.Social - relating to language and interacting with others
3.Motor Skills - both fine and gross motor skills. Learning to crawl and walk as well as pick up small objects.
In the early months babies love their hands and are endlessly occupied just playing with them and putting them into their mouths. Once they start being able to efficiently grasp at objects they will enjoy being given new toys to explore with hands and mouth. Make sure these objects are baby friendly, there is a wide range of baby specific toys to promote learning and exploration at different ages.
Once a baby is able to sit and roll the world takes on a whole new appearance. She is now able to see her surrounding as others do, and rather than passively laying on her back she can move towards something if it interests her. She has gained control of her head and neck and can visually track an object before grabbing for it.
Around this time rosy cheeks may appear as the first teeth start coming through. Some babies sail through teething while others do not cope well at all. Provide plenty of different textures and shapes for chewing. Sugar free icy poles are available which you can hold for your youngster or portions of watermelon or other cool fruits that he will not choke on.
After the first six months babies become much more social, enjoying many more games, particularly those that involve clapping, singing or tickling. Very early in life babies are able to recognise games of anticipation and seem to love knowing that they are going to be tickled, as much as the tickle itself! They will love story time and enjoy the process of turning pages and exploring the textures found in many books. You will find them smiling and playing with those they know but often quite reserved around strangers.
The culmination of all these 'baby steps' in development is that by the time your child turns one he will be close to saying his first words and possibly pulling himself up in preparation for walking. Your once helpless and tiny baby is almost a toddler!
Enjoy the pleasure your baby gets from his play and enjoy your time spent playing with him. Your reactions and words of encouragement mean more than any milestone he may pass.