Home Baby What can I do to help my baby’s development

What can I do to help my baby’s development

by Ines Wurbs

We humans never learn as much as in our childhood. From birth and even before that, we gain experience and learn for life.

We as a parent can also give our babies extra support:

  • With songs and fingerplays
  • With baby massage
  • With light shows or
  • Through interaction games
  • By supporting motor skills
  • The possibilities are manifold. I wrote some for you. It is important to try to appeal to all the senses.

How to stimulate your baby’s brain development?

Nurturing means being there for your child, to bond and supporting them when it’s needed. Simply, to build a healthy and strong relationship. That’s the basic. But you can do this and support your baby to develop his/ her skills as well.

Ability to be promotedHow we can support the ability
neck and head musclesFinger games, light games, or interaction games
self-regulationLight shows, songs, rocking, rocking, or sucking
To grabHold toys in the front, give them or take them away again, mobiles or toys
TurnIf the baby is on its stomach or on its side, put toys next to it or play with it.
SupportLie head to head and address them, smile at them. Slowly move the toy back and forth in front of your baby, who is lying on his stomach.
On all foursPlace the baby on the stomach and gently lift with your hands under the belly.
CrawlPlace the baby on its stomach or on all fours and slowly move exciting toys away from it.
Sitting/standingPlease let your baby do it himself and “only” support, praise, applaud and avoid dangers.
WalkGive your child security. You can kneel in front of him/her and spread your arms. So, it has a contact point. Encourage with praise and a helping hand.
BindingBaby massage, finger games, deep eye contact, or cuddling
AttentionFinger games, light games, interaction games, rattles, or similar back and forth
Skills to promote

Songs and fingerplays

Rhythmic baby songs are fun for most babies, have a calming effect, and focus attention on you. Perfect if you can combine that with fingerplays. Babies are so fascinated by fingers that they naturally look at you. This trains the attention and also the neck and eye muscles. Our babies have to train them first. At first, they can’t lift and turn their heads, and sometimes their eyes do what they want. With finger games, you promote the development of these.

You can find tons of songs and finger plays, such as “Itsy bitsy spider” on YouTube.

Baby massage

Massage your baby with calm, even, circular movements. You can include all parts of the body or just individual parts, such as the belly, arms, or feet. Apply some baby oil and gently massage until it’s gone. Keep your baby partially dressed to protect them from the cold. And try to keep one hand on your baby at all times.

It strengthens the bond between you and lets your baby feel each other through the pleasant touch. Even if it does not yet perceive its body as we do, you train the nerve tracts and the entire sensory system. 

Play of light

It is best to do this in a slightly darkened room with a flashlight. Then you can also switch to shadow games. But glowing mobiles also have a similar effect. Except that they don’t train the muscles that much. 

This also promotes attention and the necessary neck muscles. It also prepares your baby to develop methods of self-soothing.

Interaction games and motor skills support

Lift their head and other movements

To encourage head lifting, lay your baby on a blanket on the floor and face him/ her so that you are head-to-head. Your baby is naturally anxious to look at you and will try to.

Turning, supporting oneself and crawling can also be encouraged in this way. Lay down an interesting toy next to your baby, if you squeak with it, it will definitely attract attention. Your baby will likely attempt to reach for it and endeavor to roll over. 

Propping up and crawling

If you lay the toy in front of your baby, who is lying on its belly, he/ she will try to grab it. Especially if you slowly move it back and forth. Your baby will soon be able to support itself.

If you want to encourage him to crawl, it helps to place an exciting toy in front of your baby lying on its belly and slowly move it away from him/ her. Give him/her the chance to achieve it. That increases motivation. Make sure you have a non-slip surface.

Grasping and other movements

Toys are suitable for stimulating almost all movements, including grasping, for example. 

To encourage all fours, you can lay your child on their tummy and gently lift them with your hands under their tummy. 

Sit, stand, walk

When sitting, standing, and walking gets interesting, I would advise against specifically helping your baby. Support them and give them the opportunity to do so. So leave it on the ground and make sure that as many hazards as possible are out of the way and lend a hand when it calls for it.

How do you promote your baby?

  • If your baby shows signs of tiredness, stop. Don’t overdo it. 
  • In general, it is not good to practice with your baby when it is tired, hungry, crying, or even sick.
  • You should never practice sitting, standing, or walking before your child has tried it himself and is physically ready. This can harm your baby! If it collapses, it’s probably not the right time yet.
  • When using toys, pay attention to the different properties of the objects. In this way, your babies will learn right away how the different materials feel. Even if they can’t name it yet, it’s still important to their experience and neural pathway development. 
  • Above all, make sure that your child is lying on a safe surface, i.e. cannot fall anywhere, and that it is warm. Also, not immediately after sleeping or eating. Your baby is not receptive in these phases anyway. That being said, it can cause discomfort. If you want to know more about how long you sleep, you can find out in this article.
  • Practice with your baby for just a few minutes at a time. The smaller, the shorter. 5-10 minutes is enough.

When can my baby sit, crawl, walk, or something similar?

Motor development

This chart is from clinicalgate.com and shows the median ages. So don’t panic, if your child isn’t there yet. If you are worried, ask your child’s doctor.

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