7 Tips to Boost Your Baby’s Development
7 Tips to Boost Your Baby’s Development
How many times have you turned to Dr. Google to ask “when should a baby sit?” The truth is that every child develops on a slightly different timeline. It is important to never compare and instead, focus on what we can do to help boost our babies development. And guess what?! These tips are simple and easy to incorporate into your routine.
1: Tummy time (a lot of it)
Start tummy time early and do it often. Tummy time helps babies strengthen their postural muscles (the muscles they will soon be needing to sit, crawl and walk on their own). It can also help prevent them from developing a flat spot on their head.
2: Be picky about your toys
We want our little ones to use their own imagination and come up with their own play ideas. If the toy dog barks, then when your little one is playing animals, she will not need to make the bark sound herself. Use toys that are open ended and can be used multiple ways. Try to stay away from toys that make noise, light up or require batteries.
3: Use your couch pillows
You don’t need anything special to give your little one the opportunity to climb. Pull your couch cushions off your couch and let her climb over the cushions. Make a tunnel with a few pillows or a chair and have her crawl through.
4: Ditch the socks or create a large carpeted area
Many houses are covered in wood floors which provides for easy cleaning, but as our babies learn to crawl and walk, they are not as soft as carpet and can be a bit slippery. When your little one is first cruising on furniture, remember to take his socks off if you have wood floors so he doesn’t slip. You can also put a large rug down.
5: Throw away the Bumbo, activity center and jumparoo
There are so many different pieces of equipment that are marketed to make parents think that they need these items, but the truth is many of them are actually not good for a baby’s development. The cardinal rule is to only put your baby in pieces of equipment that hold them in a position that they can hold themselves. For example, if she can’t sit yet, don’t put her in a Bumbo because when a baby is in the seat, she isn’t using the muscles she will need when sitting or exploring. Sometimes you do need to put your baby somewhere safe for a quick minute. In these moments, try and use a bouncer instead of a piece of equipment that places her in a standing or sitting position before she has reached that stage of development.
6: Teach them to get down from the couch and down the stairs safely
Turn away for one second and you will find your little one standing on the couch, table or up the stairs. It is much easier getting up than it is down! Teach your toddlers to turn around and get down feet first safely from the time they start crawling.
7: Let them explore
Really, don’t be afraid. Remember our babies learn through their senses. We need to give them the opportunity to use their senses to learn about their environment. Take your baby to different environments – don’t keep a perfectly quiet space. Play music, bring them to the park, let him explore in the grass and get messy (I suggest ditching the bib and feeding them in just a diaper). Let him smell the flowers and try to open the container of puffs or pull all the wipes out of the wipe packet (you can put them back in once they are done to save them).
The most important thing is to remember that loving your little one is the most important thing. This time in their life is so precious and before you know it they will be walking into kindergarten. Every week your little one will be doing something new – marvel in that ability and enjoy their little life. And if you want to know more ways to boost your baby’s development, check out Play 2 Progress’ digital course: Get Set For Baby Using Sensory Play! Brella families can enjoy 30% off the course with code BRELLA.
About Dr. Allie Ticktin:
Allie is an occupational therapist specializing in sensory integration. Allie is the founder of Play 2 Progress and the author of the book, Play to Progress: Lead Your Child to Success Using the Power of Sensory Play published by TarcherPerigee at Penguin Random House. Allie uses the science of child development and the joy of play to boost childrens’ confidence and enhance development within all areas of their life, from social and emotional to physical and academic. Allie believes that the best way to support children is by arming their parents, from inception, with the knowledge and skills necessary to encourage their child’s development for success through childhood and beyond.
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