A good part of a baby’s first year can be a little strange for new parents. Those first few months are wonderful, but your little bundle of joy is still in the process of growing and learning how their bodies work, so you may not know exactly what to do with them outside of them sitting in their cute rocker or holding them. There are so many fun activities you can do such as taking walks, singing songs to your baby, taking swim lessons, or visiting a zoo or park. Because the first year of your child’s life is also very important for their development, you may want to be sure you include activities that are more focused on education and development.
Throughout your child’s first year, they will be reaching different milestones – from lifting their head, to rolling over, to walking (or being close to it). As your child reaches these new milestones, it will allow them to practice or gain the tools they need to reach the next one. When brainstorming activities to do with your infants, it’s important to choose activities that are engaging, fun and educational. Activities should focus on gross and fine motor development, emotional development and language development.
So, what activities you can do with your baby during the different stages of their first year?
In the first few months especially, it may seem difficult to connect and find activities for your baby since they are only awake a few hours at a time. Activities that include sensory play are ideal for this age. As your child approaches three months old, they will become more engaged with their surroundings. Wearing your baby around the house or on a walk allows your child to see what you see and get a sense of the world. Tummy time is also another great activity for your child. Tummy time helps them master basic skills such as lifting their heads, rolling over and sitting up without support. Some infants don’t enjoy tummy time as much as others, so we recommend using a pillow to prop them up and give them sensory play items to make tummy time more enjoyable for them.
As your child approaches the four to six-month age range, you will notice that they have become more physical. They have begun to roll over on their own and can even sit up on their own or with limited assistance. You may also notice that they are more responsive to their surroundings. Though it is still early for babies to learn words, you can start to teach your infant sign language. Learning sign language gives your child a way to express themselves and communicate effectively.
At seven to nine months, your child is starting to experience more independence. They are sitting up on their own and may even be on the move crawling all around the house. They also can pick up small objects with their thumbs and fingers. Certain musical toys or made-at-home instruments may be fun for your child to use. The may incorporate sound, music and help them practice their hand control.
As your child approaches their first birthday, you will notice that they have started to pull themselves up using the furniture around the house and may have even begun walking. They also have a fixation with small objects such as the tags on your clothes or your necklace. Now that they’ve become more engaged and active, simple tasks may now include more play. For example, taking a bath may not be as quick and easy as it once was. Your child may want to splash around and play with bath toys while you wash them.
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