Crawling- Proprioception Exercises

Proprioception exercises for baby aims to let them feel or gain a sense of what their body will feel like in a certain movement (such as crawling, rolling) before actually doing the movement.  It is useful to help teach baby what they can do or even help their movements become more efficient or inline.  When your baby becomes more aware of a specific sensation or part of their body, they are more likely to use them.

If your little one has not yet crawled or is belly crawling or scooting, you can try this proprioception exercise.  Take turns gently squeezing each of his knees, specifically the area he will bear weight when he is in the crawling position.  Let him get a clear feeling of how his muscles and bones feel in this area.  Do the same for his hands, specifically the palm or heel of his hands.  Do this for at least 3-5 minutes.

9-10 Months

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Pulling to Stand

Your baby may be pulling to a standing position at this point.  They may or may not be crawling or cruising yet, but they use their arm muscles and begin to pull their body up as their legs push down.  Here is a way to help your baby along the way.

You can help your baby by activating his body through touch to let him learn the appropriate sensations necessary for an optimal stance.  Lay him down and take one heel.  With your thumb, firmly press on the center of his heel.  Repeat a few times and then do the other heel.  This physical therapy technique helps at any stage, regardless if the baby is at the cusp of pulling to stand or already pulling to stand.  The touch associated with his heel will teach his body to learn an appropriate standing position that gives him an optimal chance of power in his legs and balance.

8-12 Months

Expand Language Baby Activity

For 9 Months old and on.

Start adding to your description of objects and increase the number of words strung together towards a complete sentence as time goes on.  For example, emphasize: red toy, green spinach, or fast truck.  Example of expanding your description: that bug; that little bug; that little red bug; that little red but is crawling away.  This isn’t to be done in one sitting, but over the course of your time spent speaking to him.

WHY? William Fowler, an educational psychologist, developed a program that emphasizes how and when to speak to babies.  The essence of his program is to introduce language development stages before the baby has exhibited meeting each stage.  He studied the program’s effectiveness on 30 children and found: first words spoken between 7-9 months; some spoke sentences at 10 months; and most became proficient in basic rules of grammar by the age of 2 years old.  These basic language milestones were achieved several months ahead, and in the case of grammar, achieved it a whooping 2 years ahead when compared to babies in normal environments.

Label Play Baby Activities

Starting from as early as 3 months.

Begin to label objects, people, and actions that she is looking at.  This will give her an idea of nouns and verbs.  For instance, if she is looking at a dog, say: “Oh, there is a dog!  That is a dog.”  Or, if the dog is running, you can say: “Look, the dog is running!  He is running so fast.”

WHY? William Fowler, an educational psychologist, developed a program that emphasizes how and when to speak to babies.  The essence of his program is to introduce language development stages before the baby has exhibited meeting each stage.  He studied the program’s effectiveness on 30 children and found: first words spoken between 7-9 months; some spoke sentences at 10 months; and most became proficient in basic rules of grammar by the age of 2 years old.  These basic language milestones were achieved several months ahead, and in the case of grammar, achieved it a whooping 2 years ahead when compared to babies in normal environments.

Early and Often Baby Activities

Parentese, which is how most people naturally want to speak to babies and toddlers, is higher pitched overall with wide swings in pitch when spoken.  This gives parentese its singsong quality.  Along with its high intonation(variations in pitch) characteristics, parentese allows for babies to pick up different speech patterns as well as distinct words, vowels, and syllables.

Parents all over the world speak in parentese, regardless of the language spoken.  Let your natural instinct and voice come out as you talk with your child.  Remember, communicating early and often is the best recipe for language development!

Parentese

The sing-song voice we naturally want to speak with babies and small children is called parentese.  And, wouldn’t you know, this natural instinct has been shown to be preferred by babies.  It is a great vehicle for children to pick up speech and speech patterns.

If you have been talking parentese to your little one already- great!  Keep it up, and aim to pick 3 times today when you find you are not talking to your little one.  Stop what you’re doing and converse with her.  If you haven’t been using parentese or feel foolish for doing so, now is the time to start.  This is the best way for babies to pick up language.  Spread the word about the impact parentese has on a child’s language development.  Aim to speak to your baby in parentese today.

Balance and Motion Infant Activity

Our vestibular system is a sensory system to help us with balance, position, and motion.  When this sense is stimulated in babies (usually by some form of movement), it not only helps their sensory abilities develop, but also helps their motor abilities and early brain development overall.  As you have probably already discovered when you trigger it, the added  benefit is that it is comforting to your baby!  Here are ways to stimulate the vestibular system:

  • Sit in a comfortable seat and lay your baby on your lap.  Sway and rock your baby rhythmically and gently from side to side.  Talk or sing to her.
  • Rock, jiggle, swing, bounce, and carry your baby around.  Even putting her in a sitting position (make sure she is developmentally ready) or propped up on pillows is a different position compared to what she’s usually in and will stimulate her vestibular system.

As always, practice safety.  Do not do rigorous movements.  Make sure your baby’s head is stabilized either by you or by themselves if they are strong enough.

 

Food Talk Baby Game

Make it a point at meals and snacks today to converse with your child.  Aim to both be sitting so that you can have a focused conversation.  Speak to what interests her or pick a subject that draws her attention.  For example: “I always make sandwiches with loaf bread.  I like how spongy the bread is.  And the meat and cheese go right in the middle between slices of bread.  One bread piece on top, one piece on bottom.”  “If I want to clean off your spoon to scoop up some fruit instead, I ‘clank, clank, clank’ the spoon against the bowl to get off all the extra food on there.” “I’m glad I got a spoon for your peas.  Can you imagine if I got a fork?  Wouldn’t it be hard to pick them up with a fork?  What do you think?”

Language & Turn Taking Baby Activity

Have a conversation with your baby, face-to-face!  Let him learn the patterns of conversation through turn taking.  You say something, maybe ending with a question, and then pause to let him have a chance to “say” something.  All that babbling is him talking to you!  Even if he isn’t babbling back yet, still pause before talking again.  Engage in conversation as long as he is interested- aim for 10-15minutes.  Soon, you’ll be amazed how quickly he understands turn taking!  He will just love spending quality, focused time with you just talking!