You intuitively rock and bounce with Baby in your arms. Due to Baby's highly developed vestibular system, that, along with touch, conveys sensation, soothing your child. But the motion also promotes early brain development and even better visual alertness.
Babies' first movements are involuntary. Rolling over is a voluntary movement—and one you can encourage. While Baby is lying on her back, sit behind her, holding a toy over her head. Once you have her attention, move the toy slowly to one side, encouraging her to get it.
Blow bubbles for Baby to watch. When Baby's old enough, encourage him to reach for the bubbles—or for any other object of desire you place above him. Such games promote visual tracking and eye-hand coordination.
Games like patty-cake have lasted through the years because they work so well with infants. They offer opportunities for social interaction, imitation, touch, and rhythmic awareness—and yet another chance for Baby to hear your voice.
To encourage crossing the midline of the body (the invisible line running from head to toes and dividing the body into left and right sides), hand Baby desirable items in such a way that she has to reach across her body to retrieve them from you.
When Baby is able to sit unassisted, make him comfortable on a vinyl tablecloth on the floor. Put warm water in a large, unbreakable bowl in front of him and encourage him to splash the water! This is a great activity for eye-hand coordination and upper torso exercise.
Hurrying skills like standing or walking is never a good idea. But be sure Baby chances to pull herself up on sturdy furniture, like a sofa. (Be aware that once she's up, she may need your help getting back down!) Read 5 Ways to Prevent Tip-Overs.
Soon Baby will begin to "walk," using furniture for support. Once she's walking unassisted, Baby will enjoy pushing and carrying objects. These activities provide practice with this locomotor skill, and also help develop understanding of cause and effect.
You don't have to know the science behind Baby's need to move—you just have to know that he needs to! Mother Nature has a good plan for development. Giving Baby the time, space, and opportunity to move helps her fulfill it!
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