Playing with your baby’s senses – what every new parent must know.
It’s so exciting every time you see your baby reach a new milestone, the first laugh or smile or the first step. When you look closely, in the first weeks of your baby’s life is filled with milestones. Every movement they make is a first, and every movement they make lays a new neural pathway in their brain. So simply: what babies do (activity wise) shapes how their brain develops and grows.
So, let’s explore the early movement experiences that your bub needs:
– All you need is yourself.
– Gently move your bubs limbs and joints so that they experience new positions (giving muscles and joints new sensations)
– Start with the arms, bending the elbow and straightening it, continue with opening and closing of the hands and then bending each little finger
– Move onto their legs, bending at the hips, then knees, then ankles and toes
– Everything you need you can find in your house – paper to crunch, keys to jingle, bottles with rice to shake etc
– Find a quiet space for your baby to lay
– Using different objects, make noise on one side of your bubs head until they look and turn their head to find the sound, then change sides. Keep repeating on each side of bubs head with different materials.
– You will need lots of different textured objects (smooth, bumpy, soft, squishy, stringy, cold etc.)
– Touch one of bubs hands with one texture, experiment with pressure and movement direction and speed, wait for bub to turn and look or respond and then swap sides.
– Continue with different textures on hands, arms, legs and feet.
– You need basic toys, simple objects (for example, a spoon, mirror, ball, pictures), your smiling face
– Hold one object in front of bubs face (15-20cm away), wait for your baby to look at the object before slowly moving it around by a few centimetres.
– Continue with different objects, it’s crucial for newborns to learn how to follow moving objects with their eyes (visual tracking)
Add these into your daily routines and help your bubs brain to make lots of new connections and to aid their development. Taking a few minutes for this each day will make a huge difference in the long run.