Photo Credit: Praisaeng
Touch plays an important role in infant development, and research reveals that infant massage is beneficial. When you massage your baby, you are bonding and forming a special connection! In fact, research tells us that regular massage is calming, improves sleep, and reduces infant stress. You can start massaging your baby at the age of 2 to 3 weeks with your pediatrician’s approval. For more information on baby massage, I highly recommend “Aimee’s Babies Developmental DVD with Baby Massage.”
Benefits of Massage:
-Improved growth and development
-Calms the infant
-Improved body awareness
Don’t Massage Your Baby When:
-Baby is ill
-Baby has a rash or skill condition
-Baby arches body or resists during massage
-Baby cries during massage and won’t stop
-Your baby’s breathing increases during massage
Children learn about the world around them through exploration and play. The role of play in child development is important for the development gross motor, fine motor and social skills. Play can be as simple as imitating the sounds that your infant makes, or it can be more involved, such as putting puzzles together, stacking blocks and imitating complex block patterns. Play activities such as these are great for motor and perceptual development, and they are also wonderful for social skill development.
Parents and caregivers need to have a basic understanding of developmental milestones in childhood. This knowledge will be helpful when encouraging your child come up with ideas for play.
Here is a brief early developmental milestone chart of skills that influence play. Please keep in mind that all children develop at their own individual rates, so the ages for acquiring these milestones may vary from child to child.
Begins to show interest in and curiosity about the environment – 4 to 6 months
Object permanence emerging/pointing to pictures and objects- 10 months to 1 year
Imitation and solitary play skills- 1 year to 15 months
Parallel play and symbolic play- 2 years
Interactive play and taking turns- 2 ½ to 3 years
photo credit: nenetus- freedigitalphotos.net
Selecting the right baby toys is important if you want to promote development in your infant. When choosing toys for your twelve to twenty-four month old, make sure that you select items that are colorful and interactive. Playtime is the perfect time for your infant to gain important developmental skills, and these old fashioned classics are wonderful options.
Shape Sorter! This is a fun toy that is wonderful for development. Your baby can sort and stack the forms and learn to identify and match shapes with your help. Selecting and placing the proper shape promotes visual perceptual skills and develops eye hand coordination. Babies love to take items in and out of containers, so this toy typically keeps a child occupied for a while!
Classic building blocks are another option that’s great for motor skills. During play, teach your baby about colors and letters in the alphabet. Stacking and building with blocks addresses grasp and release skills, eye-hand coordination, and visual perceptual skills. When your baby is old enough, you can also teach her how to copy basic block designs.
This wooden pounding bench is one of my favorites! Pounding the pegs with the mallet develops eye hand coordination in babies and children, and it’s an awesome way to release all of the energy that little ones have. Once all the pegs are pounded down, the bench can be flipped over, and your baby can pound them down again!