Power of Touch Baby Activity

In one study, 4 month olds who received an 8 minute massage performed better on early memory and sensory skills tests.  Ideas on baby massage:

  • Make sure the environment has no additional stimulus in the background (aka TV) and that the temperature of the room is warm and comfortable for him.  You ideally want skin-to-skin contact.  If comfortable with using, you can use small amounts of oil for massaging, such as vegetable oil.  Aim to massage for 8 minutes at least.
  • Start by massaging her head very gently- do not apply too much pressure in this area.  Try massaging in lines down her muscles of her arms and legs and circular movements over her joints.  Then gently extend her arm and leg at the end of her massage.  Rub her belly gently in the direction of her colon- clockwise.  Aim for at least an 8 minute massage.
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Engagement Baby Activity

Babies and young children naturally get bored.  They were born that way!  Have you noticed they don’t seem as interested in the same toy or the same game when it has been done repetitively?  Keep things interesting by changing it up!  Draw their focus to other aspects of the toy or game.  By encouraging their attention, you begin to lay the groundwork for perseverance, motivation and focus- all necessary life skills.  Here are ways to stimulate these characteristics.

What’s New Here? Rotate her toys! Try rotating in new toys every week or two.  Only a handful is necessary- you don’t have to completely change all of her toys.  When we say new, we don’t mean brand new either!  Just toys she hasn’t seen for a bit and are “new” to her today.  You can keep rotating in and out with the toys she already has!

Old Toy, New Toy!  The same toy can seem novel and new in a new environment!  It is that easy to shake things up!  Place a few of her favorite toys in a new place- the car, bathroom, kitchen, grandma and grandpa’s house are just a few examples.  Take her hairy gorilla, put curlers in its hair, and put it in front of Mom’s makeup counter.

It’s in the Details. Focus on different uses of a toy or different characteristics of the toy.  “Wow, this horsey can suddenly fly!”  “Look how I can spin the rattle!”  “I like the triangle pattern on this toy!”  Or, if you always play with her a certain way, spice it up!  Always move her legs? Move her arms too or move her legs in various ways.  Always throw and catch her up in the air?  Try swinging her from side to side instead.

Peek-a-Boo Baby Game

Engage your baby with simple play and language learning just happens!

Use a soft cloth and gently cover his eyes.  You can say: “Where’d baby go?!”  Then lift up the cloth and smile big and say “Oh!  There you are silly!”  Repeat and watch your baby giggle!

Peripheral Vision Baby Activity

Did you know young babies see better with their peripheral vision?  That’s why you have noticed his eyes rolling to the corners or seems to be more interested in a toy to the side of him and disinterested when it is right in front of him.

Take advantage of this fact and hang your baby’s brightly colored mobile or toys more to the side of the crib, playpen, or bassinet.  He may notice them more if they are in line with his peripheral vision.

 

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Power of Touch2 Baby Activity

It is easy to understand that activating your baby’s sense of touch is necessary for her development of sensory-motor skills, but what is less known and amazing is its effect on other aspects of your baby’s development and well-being.  Touch has been shown to have a strong relationship to her immune system, brain power, physical growth, and emotional health.

Baby Massage!  Give your baby a full body baby massage by gently rubbing, stroking, & squeezing parts of his body.  You don’t want to be too soft, but of course not too rough either.  Loving touches are the way to go!  Suggested progression: thighs, knees, calves, top of feet, bottom of feet, toes, shoulders, top of arm, lower arm, back and front of hand, fingers, chest, tummy, back of neck, shoulder blades, back, bum.

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Batting Hand to Grabbing Hands Motor Baby Activity

Your baby is still learning to successfully grab onto what they want.  They may not be able to yet, but they’re working on this skill by batting at toys repetitively.  Help them develop their hand-eye coordination as well as their grabbing and holding skills through fun enticing toys!

She will notice what she wants, and it seems like nothing will stop her from trying to reach and grab ahold of it.  Encourage her to reach for objects by safely placing a stick across her crib with 2-3 different objects safely tied to the stick.  Choose toys you think she will want to play with.  Make sure the objects are within her sight, reach, and touch.  Throughout her play, talk to her.  Describe what she is doing, describe what the toy she is trying to grab looks or feels like, or give her encouraging words.  Make sure you are watching the safety of your child and do not leave any cords or strings alone with her in the crib.

1- 5 Months

Holding- A New Idea!

Right now your baby’s hands are most likely tightly clenched in little fists.  When you apply pressure or stimulation to their palms, their hands automatically close tightly.  This is called reflexive grasping- they are not doing it voluntarily.  In no time, they will be opening and closing their little hands whenever they want and examining whatever object they have chosen to hold on to.  In the meantime, help your baby feel different objects in their hand and get the sensation of holding.

Find a little toy that he will be able to hold on to and that you know interests him.  Show him the toy and engage his interest by describing the toy or what you are about to do.  For example: “Look at this rattle!  It is very shiny and makes noise (shake, shake, shake).  Would you like to hold it?  Looks like you do!  Mommy help.”  Then touch the toy on the inside of his palm so that his fingers reflexively close around it.  If he drops it, hand it back to him and speak loving words when you do.

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Place to Start Newborn Activity

It’s recommended for babies to do 30-90 minutes of tummy time each day.  This can be divided into multiple sessions.  If this number seems too far away to reach, there is no need to worry.  Try focusing on incorporating as much as you can into your daily routines instead of focusing on reaching a goal time.  Even if you do a little here and there, it will add up.  The more you do it, the more comfortable it will be for baby and caregiver.  Before you know it, you may be surprised that the 90 minute goal of daily tummy time will be an easily obtainable goal.  Here are examples of a place for you to start if you are having a difficult time in tummy time.  Small steps makes a world of difference!

  • Belly First: Every time you set baby down, place him on his tummy first.  For instance, when you change his diaper, set him belly-down before changing.  Aim to do this all week.
  • There’s lots of playtime with him throughout the day.  Aim for 3 playtimes to start and be on the belly as long as he likes.

Football Grip

Another way to get her comfortable in the tummy position is to carry her around with her tummy rested on the inside of your forearm.  It isn’t as rigorous of practice compared to when she is doing tummy time on a flat surface, but it is a great way to transition into that position eventually.  Make sure to do both arms so she gets to practice balance on both sides.  Aim to carry her in this position for at least 15 min.  This will count as 1 round of your 4 daily sessions of tummy time.  Feel free to repeat this exercise.  Also, It’s a good bicep workout for the person carrying.

Pillow or Exercise Ball Tummy Time

This session will count as 1 round of your 3-4 daily sessions of tummy time.  Feel free to repeat this exercise. Using an exercise ball or pillow will allow you to vary the degree of incline for her in tummy time.  The exercise ball is angled everywhere since it is round.  Place her not on top, but on the top side of the ball so that her head is at the top of the incline.  Support her with your hand on her back.  If using a pillow, put her chest at the edge of the pillow so she is propped up.  Make sure your pillow is wide enough for her to place her hands on the pillow as well.  Very the incline based on her comfort.  A baby new or frustrated with tummy time may want a higher angle similar to that when you hold baby on your shoulder.  Eventually, we want her to be able to tolerate the more challenging position, which is on the top of the ball or pillow, for longer periods of time.  When using the ball, practice safety and be aware that it rolls.

If she is very young and this is her first exposure to tummy time, you can pick her up a few minutes (or seconds) into fussing.  Then increase goal to 5 min next time, then 7min, 10min, 12min, and 15min.  Your goal is to get to at least 20min of tummy time 4 times a day or 25min of tummy time 3 times a day.  Make sure to pick a time of day she is alert, calm, and willing.  Don’t worry.  With more practice in these comfy positions while slowing increasing her tolerance, she’ll be able to do classic tummy time on the floor in no time.