Your little one is now waking up to the world in a new way. Finally they are able to use their hands to explore - and it is likely that they are spending a lot of their time holding, shaking, passing, tasting and throwing things. In these months your baby will gain so much coordination, concentration and knowledge of the world. With conscious effort and a prepared environment we can greatly assist our little explorers in their endeavors.
Encouraging coordination and concentration
A fantastic way to play and provide great “work” for your little one is to give them regular time with “tactile mobiles”. Your little one will start exploring the world from different positions during these months, but will still likely spend a fair amount of time laying on their back, so as soon as your little one starts becoming interested in using their arms and hands, you can upgrade their “discovery place” to include tactile exploration.
Tactile mobiles are simply things that hang down from a play gym or from a hook on the ceiling that are meant to be explored with your little one’s hands. Being able to play with these tactile mobiles helps babies practice hand-eye coordination. Through their attempts to reach out and touch or move the mobile, babies learn about depth perception, about cause and effect, and they greatly increase their kinesthetic awareness. At first, your little one’s contact with the objects will be by accident, but soon you’ll notice more intentional movements.
Tips for tactile mobiles:
- Hang the tactile mobile so it doesn't touch your baby's face or body, but so that it can be reached with their arms when they are outstretched.
- Take care that the attaching cord isn’t too long, or else it can be a choking hazard.
- Place your little one near a mirror that is mounted close to the floor will allow them to see themselves. The reflection in the mirror will offer them another point of interest and visual feedback to learn from.
- Keep the items simple. Too many patterns or colors will be overstimulating to your little one.
- Hang only one or two within view at first.
- Watch out for any little components that could drop off onto your little one’s face - glitter or glued on eyes, for example.
- Choose things that are interesting from the viewpoint of your baby.
- Keep away from anything that moves mechanically. Using these items works against our goal in helping your baby learn about movement and gain coordination!
- Keep away from items that flash or create their own sounds. These can be overstimulating and take away from the learning process.
- Observe your little one, give them time to explore and practice!
- Change the tactile mobiles every few days or as soon as you see interest waning.
Alongside the monumental work of developing coordination, your little one is also starting to grow their capacity to concentrate. The ability to concentrate will be growing in a big way throughout these early childhood years, and is the foundation of successful learning. We can support their growing capacity for focus and concentration in the way we interact with them.
It can be so easy to break a baby's concentration - a word, cooing sound or even a look can shift their focus. When you see your little one start to focus on a task, refrain from interfering in any way. Give them time to practice, fail and practice again. Wait to comment or celebrate their victories until you feel they have finished concentrating! This takes some practice, but it shows your baby the respect they deserve while they are doing their incredible work!