January 23, 2019
Your sweet baby is home and between those moments of tenderness when you’re cuddling and swooning at their undeniable cuteness - comes playtime. It can be hard for parents to get creative beyond the classics with playtime, while also encouraging baby to learn and develop important motor skills during play.
We’re here to help give you some guidance on what baby development milestones are happening month by month, and give you inspiration with some great games to play with baby throughout those important stages of development in their first twelve months. Baby is growing each day and you’re learning new things about parenthood with them. Every baby is unique and has their own way of learning and developing, so enjoy each accomplishment no matter when they happen.
During their first three months, infants are absorbing all of the new sights, smells, and sounds around them. In these months, you’ll start to see baby develop their sensory skills like sight and hearing. Baby will also initiate emotional responses to let you know when they need something.
Infants begin to show their curiosity for life early on, but you’ll notice that your baby will find comfort in your touch and smile - especially when they’re overwhelmed by the world around them. Keep this in mind as they’re experiencing new places and feelings throughout their growth.
During their first few months you’ll really want to focus on encouraging baby to learn and embrace their curiosity. Introducing them to new places, faces, colors, and textures will be your main focus during these first months. Baby will still be working hard to develop their motor and cognitive skills - so we’ll start to introduce more educational and physical games a little later. For now, you’ll really want to just spend as much time with baby as possible and help familiarize them with new things.
For newborns 0-3 months old, let’s focus on infant activities that encourage motor skills and sensory exploration.
By the end of baby’s first three months, they’ll start to express emotion through smiles when they’re having fun, and fussiness when they need something. They’ll start recognizing sounds and will likely be fascinated by faces and patterns. Baby will have gained some motor skills like being able to hold their head up - but motor skills will really start to develop quickly between three and six months.
They will also start to show more cognitive and emotional skills like reacting to familiar faces, sights, and sounds like their own name. This is a really exciting time to watch baby grow so quickly.
Your 3-6 month old is getting used to new sights around them, and you’re feeling more comfortable as a new parent too - so let’s start focusing on learning, movement, and socializing. Feel free to continue using the infant activities for 0-3 month olds as they continue to grow - you can think of these as building blocks to work from at every stage.
Baby’s fine motor skills at 3 months will include turning their head to familiar sounds and voices, moving their hands and arms together, and lifting their head from the floor when lying down. Now we’ll see baby starting to make more sounds and expressions of their own, and start to gain more strength to stand with support.
During the 6-9 month stage, you’ll want to continue to build on developing those fine motor skills with the goal of baby standing with help, and rolling on their own. You’ll also want to explore more cognitive and language activities to get them ready for their first words. These infant games can are great ways to encourage development, and spend some quality time with baby.
Baby’s about to turn one, and you can’t believe how fast time has flown by and how much your little one has grown. Maybe baby has learned a handful of words, or perhaps you’re still awaiting that magical moment. Not to worry, every baby develops at their own pace - and watching them learn through play makes parenting so fun and rewarding.
By the time baby turns one, they should be able to stand without support for 1-2 minutes, say at least one word, recognize and understand the meaning of “no,” and use their hands to move objects.
Since baby’s memory and cognitive processing has started to develop, during these 9-12 months we can start having fun with more educational games and introduce them to even more new experiences.
Baby has spent some time getting to know how their body works, and they’re starting to walk on their own. You and baby are both learning about their personality, their likes and dislikes, and baby is quickly learning how to communicate wants and needs.
Use these infant development activities to encourage baby to communicate with you and others, and continue to learn. Remember, use this guide as building blocks - continue to incorporate activities you learned in the previous development stages to improve motor skills and communication.
Have fun with imagination, interactive games, and physical activities as baby passes their first birthday.
Every baby is different - they all have their own unique ways to explore, learn, and grow. Encourage baby to have fun and embrace their curiosity by having fun withthem. Celebrate those milestones, no matter how early or late they happen. The most important thing you can do is show baby how much you love them, and teach them how to love and be strong on their own as they grow each day.
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