Promoting Babies Development – Birth to 6 months

Promoting Babies Development - Birth to 6 monthsTriple P stands for the Positive Parenting Program. It is a great program that I was fortunate enough to become certified in. It basically teaches and educates on more positive ways to communicate with your children and deal with the stressors of parenting. There are many topics that are discussed for parents with children from birth to about 10 years old. I believe I wrote a blog a while ago about toddler tantrums. Some other topics include: potty training, hitting and aggression, preparing your family for a new baby, and coping with stress. Today I’m wring about Promoting Development. For some reason I feel like there are a lot of new babies out there….2014 was a busy year! Promoting Development is a great Triple P topic because it starts as soon as the baby is born. These small bundles of pink wonder need to be stimulated as soon as they enter this world and the following information offers great ways to ensure your baby gets off to a great start.

So the first few weeks are usually a whirlwind of chaos and confusion, but that’s ok. You spend a lot of time just looking at your baby and talking softly the way mommies do which is great because it all plays a part in developing a positive relationship with your baby. Take the time to just look at, talk to, hold, and touch your baby. Baby’s explore their world by listening, touching, tasting, and smelling things around them and we as parents promote that daily with the little cheek nibbles, soft arm caresses, and lullaby’s that we sing before bed.

Talking to your baby is something that can be misconstrued as overrated because sometimes we don’t think it matters much when they are so little but it’s actually just the opposite. From just shortly after birth, your baby can recognize the sound of your voice….remember they have been hearing it inside the belly for a while and now it’s all familiar to them. All sounds are a way of communicating with your baby so take every opportunity to talk, whisper, coo, or sing to them. During diaper change, bath time, or feeding are great opportunities to communicate with your baby. Children who hear a lot of different words learn to understand and use many different words when their language is developing. This heads them in the right direction with their intellectual and academic development.

Giving your baby things to look at are a great way to stimulate brain activity and awaken the senses.  In the first few months babies love anything shiny, sparkly, or bright and colorful. Create an environment that is interesting for your baby to look at. That doesn’t mean that your have to have fireworks going off in the bedroom, I know we all like to have calming colors in the baby’s room. However, when baby is awake they are going to love playing with things that are interesting and fun for them such as bells, soft blocks, plastic keys, and even brightly colored ribbons. As your baby grows all these things will go in the mouth, don’t worry it’s completely normal for literally everything to go in their mouth. Safety first so if it’s a choking hazard then do away with it altogether until your baby is older.

As early as 6 weeks, babies can be reaching for things to grab and touch. By 3 months they are fascinated with their hands which will pretty much be covered in drool most of the time because they too will be going in the mouth quite often. When babies are able to grip onto things usually around the 3 to 4 month mark, its great to give them those baby toys they make with all different textures on them. These are wonderful for the sensory development because they can hear the crinkle, feel the soft and smooth and usually put the rubber part in their mouth against their gums.

Singing to your babies or just getting them to hear music is wonderful for many different reasons. It can distract your baby in a time of need, it can soothe your baby to sleep, or just become a bonding time for you and your baby. This is something that I did constantly with my kids right from birth and it was a great way to make those 2am feedings a little easier. I either put on a radio station and sang along to my baby or I would sing a combination of lullaby’s before putting them back down. Even things that have rattles or musical toys are a great way to stimulate their senses. Listening to sounds can also help teach your baby about rhythm, emotions, and even danger.

When I am working with my families and educating them on Triple P, one thing I stress a lot is to take their baby out of the house. Something as simple as fresh air is incredibly beneficial for babies development. Babies need to see the world around them and breath the fresh air into their lungs. Go for a walk around the neighborhood, at a park, or even a shopping plaza as often as you can. This is also a great way to encourage cognitive development and language as you can name all the things that you see when you are walking such as animals, cars, trees, flowers. Babies can smell different scents in the air and hear things like trains and sirens.

Sometimes it’s hard to come up with things to do with your baby, especially when they are so young. Not everyone is meant for mommy and me classes and not everyone has someone to tell them exactly what to do everyday.  Here are some activities that you can do with babies shortly after birth to about a year old to enhance their growth and development:

  • Peek a boo helps your baby understand that things still exist when they are hiding.
  • Activities that involve pouring or emptying and filling teach babies concepts about full and empty. For example in the bath, taking a plastic cup and pouring water from one into another. Or sand at the playground.
  • Rhymes and folk songs can teach children about counting, rhyming, and physical affection.
  • Games like Pat a Cake can teach coordination.
  • Push and pull toys help to practice walking and better development motor skills.
  • Building blocks are a simple way for children to learn stacking and hand-eye coordination.
  • Encourage story time and picture books for your baby as this is a great way for them to begin to develop their imagination and concentration. Also, helps them become more prepared to read when the time comes.

I really hope this was beneficial for those new moms or anyone looking for useful information regarding child development. And remember your babies attention span will be short and it’s ok if they are not willing to stick with a particular activity for longer than a few minutes. The attention span will increase as they get older. Give your baby lots of opportunities to explore their world, even if it means making a little mess =)

We would love to know what your favorite way to engage your little ones is or was when they were this age?

The Hot Mess Mom

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