The 20 April 2017
By galipon dans

Helping babies learn through activities and play

From the age of around 8 months, and sometimes before for certain children, your baby’s mobility will start to increase. Once baby starts to sit up unaided, you’ll soon start to see them standing up by leaning on things around them such as tables. Baby will start wanting to move around unaided, either by rolling, sliding or even crawling if they are particularly mobile. As well as their mobility, we can also see developments in their concentration, coordination, language, motor skills, senses and sociability. So how can you help your little angel to develop further through activities and play?

Toys for babies aged 0 to 3 months

During the first month, your newborn’s brain is still developing. They make reflex movements such as sucking or gripping. They can distinguish between contrasts, are sensitive to sounds and recognise your smell.

At two months, your baby begins to make noises, smile and wave their arms to express when they are happy, and cries differently when they are hungry or tired.

By the third month, your little one begins to make voluntary movements, if somewhat clumsy, and they begin to observe their environment.

Your role in their development is based around stimulation and ensuring their environment is safe. Make sure you talk to your baby, establish eye contact and give plenty of cuddles. Toys for babies aged 0 to 3 months include cuddly toys, rattles, musical boxes, mobiles for over the cot or pushchair etc.

Early learning for babies aged 4 to 6 months

Once your baby is four months old they start to discover their hands, follow what’s happening around them with their eyes and begin to laugh out loud when you play the fool. They practise using their voice to attract your attention or just to exercise it – as if they were in training for the next episode of the latest television talent show. By the fifth and sixth month, your little cherub’s arm coordination improves and they move their legs as if they were riding an imaginary bicycle. They can grab items with their hands and put them in their mouth, and are capable of turning round to follow you.

Their voice continues to develop and they start trying to copy you when you speak. Then they turn over onto their tummy or back, grab hold of their feet, lean on their forearms and lift up their head, and try to stand up if we support them. They start to roll over and make more and more different noises with their voice!

To stimulate your baby between 4 and 6 months, go for early learning toys that encourage them to become familiar with their environment, such as a playmat, foam dice or any other similar kind of toy. You can also play at ‘little puppets’ using your hands.

Activities for babies between 7 and 9 months

We’re now entering the third time of baby’s life outside the womb. Already! Between 7 and 9 months, your baby starts sitting up unaided and moving around. They can jump on their knees and start the exercise of crawling. Each child has their own way of moving around. Their dexterity improves, in grabbing a toy for example. At the same time, they start memorising words and movements to do with objects or even people. Communication between you and your baby becomes more precise.

You could therefore suggest a learning activity designed to improve their coordination and spatial awareness by introducing toys that include sounds and actions such as things to grab or turn. There are all sorts of toys available in a whole range of designs. This said, nothing beats a traditional game of ‘peekaboo!’ which is always a firm favourite and costs nothing!

Early learning and toys from 10 to 12 months

Between 10 and 12 months, your little one starts to be independent, albeit not too much in reality. Time flies and your baby is growing up fast! They have learnt to get around easily on all fours or by crawling. They sometimes manage two or three steps while you hold them up. However, your child will only begin to walk unaided between 12 and 18 months (on average, sometimes later). They can hold a cup or a spoon and are becoming more skilled with their hands. It’s time to start paying attention to doors or drawers that they could open.

In terms of communication, even though your child cannot yet pronounce distinct words, they have learnt to express themselves through gestures and sounds that mean particular things. You’ll be waiting impatiently for your little one to say their first word: daddy or mummy. Sometimes you’ll think you’ve heard them say it, but this may not be the case. Sometimes your hopes are not in line with reality!

Around this age, you can stimulate their motor skills and coordination by helping them move around. The best toys for developing these skills are sit-on toys. These are available in a multitude of designs, from trucks to motorbikes, not forgetting dogs or racing cars. There are all sorts of colours and styles to suit every taste.

Safety in the home for your baby

Once your child becomes mobile, you need to keep your eye on them at all times. Before actively helping your little person with their development, you need to make sure the place they live in and make progress is safe.

Once your child begins to move around, the notion of space changes at the same time. They no longer stay put where we want them to be. In other words, they move around, touch things, grab hold of things and put everything in their mouths! On the one hand, it gives us a lot of pleasure to see them developing; it makes parents so proud! But on the other hand, this means that more things will be within their reach. And since prevention is better than cure, we need to take a few precautions.

In terms of safety rules:

  • Prevent access to particularly dangerous places using safety gates (stairs, kitchen, balcony etc).
  • Fit corner protectors to furniture and use electric socket protectors.
  • Ensure cables leading to TVs, lamps and any chargers are hidden.
  • Also try to get into the habit of putting any items that could be swallowed out of reach, as well as any other items that could injure them such as containers, glass vases etc.
  • Ensure potentially toxic plants are out of reach.

In summary, never let your children out of your sight. We haven’t even mentioned those all-important fragile items such as smartphones, computers and tablets. These could suffer irreversible damage. In any case, don’t be in a rush to introduce your child to these little technological tools. It won’t be long before your child will be showing you how to handle these devices better than you!

In terms of development for little cherubs, we have used average ages. Each child will develop at their own pace. Helping them to develop does not mean doing everything for them. You also need to let them learn things for themselves. Be there to listen and support them. Don’t put high expectations on particular milestones, as it’s up to your child to reach them in their own time. If you have any concerns, feel free to raise them with your doctor.

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By galipon dans