As your child’s physical, language, cognitive, and social/emotional development progress more and more each day, he will be able to interact with you and others like never before. In order to encourage your child’s growth in every developmental area, it’s important to inspire his creativity, peak his curiosities, and engage him in “conversation” as much as possible. Although they will feel like play for the both of you, these activities are important learning experiences for your little one and will form the foundation of his early childhood development, literally molding him into the amazing little person he is destined to become. There’s a good reason that traditional games such as Peek-a-Boo, I-Spy, and Pat-a-cake are classic baby activities that have stood the test of time. Interactive games like these strengthen your child’s cognitive abilities, help him develop important social skills, improve his fine motor skills, and increase his self-confidence.
Other activities such as dancing to music and scribbling with crayons also provide your child with much more than simple entertainment. Listening to music, especially the kind with a regular beat and rhyming lyrics can introduce your baby to early mathematical skills such as patterns and early language skills as well. Doodling and sorting blocks and other objects can also reinforce pattern identification and allow your child to develop higher-order thinking skills such as comparing and evaluating. This is also a good time to start introducing your child to basic colors and shapes as well.
As you have probably heard, reading to your child early and often is one of the most important and life-altering gifts you can give your baby. While he may not understand the words or recognize any of the letters initially, he is absorbing important early literacy skills by associating the words and letters on the page to the sounds coming out of your mouth, and perhaps most importantly, he’s learning that reading is a fun and enjoyable activity! As your child develops the fine motor control necessary to turn the pages, allow him to experience what it feels like to flip through a book on his own. Soon, he’ll be pointing to pictures and “reading” familiar books to himself and to anyone else who will listen!
As your baby grows and develops physically and cognitively, he will be able to do more and more things on his own. Although you may feel the urge to hold on to his “baby” days, it’s important to allow him some degree of independence. Doing things on his own in a safe and monitored environment will give him the confidence he needs to attempt more and more new tasks as it becomes necessary for him to do so. Be sure to offer lots of praise and attention for a job well-done, and be patient with your little one as he acquires these new skills.
Most of the experiences important to your child’s development will occur naturally and instinctually. Above all, the important thing is to give your child plenty of attention, interact with him in an interesting and engaging way, encourage his natural curiosities, and send him the message that learning is fun!