How Does Your Baby Learn: 3-6 Months
Learning begins at birth, and brain development during the first years of life is critical to the lifelong success of every child. During these early months, when baby’s brain is developing rapidly, adult participation in even simple activities with young children makes a lasting impression.
Stimulate Your Baby’s Senses
Babies use their senses to take in information. Create a stimulating atmosphere for your child by:
- Hold baby near your face and say loving things (“I love you,” “You’re so cute,” “What a sweet baby”) and encourage baby to explore your face with her hands.
- Take your baby to a mirror to see herself and you.
- Sing favorite songs to baby and use lots of facial expressions.
- Lay baby on her side. Place a toy to either side and see if baby will be motivated to roll and touch the toy.
- Remember to hug and cuddle – a lot!
- Buy or borrow a nursery rhyme book from the library and sing or say the rhymes repeatedly. Babies love repetition.
- Use wooden spoons and other simple tools to count out rhythmic 1-2, 1-2-3, and 1-2-3-4 patterns. Encourage baby to mimic the beat.
- Use conversation and single words to help baby label things in daily life (dog, ball, bottle)
- Put colorful pictures or photos in places where baby spends time (the change table, the bedroom…). Look at photographs of family members, and talk softly about what she is seeing.
- Babies love to let objects drop and fall. Help baby learn about different sounds and the concept of “down” by providing different objects to drop.
- Sing silly songs and wiggle baby’s toes and fingers to help baby learn about body parts.
Help Your Baby’s Muscles Grow
Babies’ muscles grow strong only when they use them. You can help by:
- Hold baby while sitting or laying on her back and hold toys or rattles within reach. Encourage baby to hit or touch the toy.
- Provide baby with some time on his tummy when awake. Place toys, a mirror, or yourself in front of baby to encourage him to keep his head up. This will strengthen back and neck muscles.
You can create a stimulating atmosphere and encourage learning by playing with your baby, like with these games below:
- Use mirrors to show baby his/her face. Call the baby by name. Exaggerate your facial expressions.
- Play peek-a-boo, hide yourself and objects, then hide and find the baby behind a held-up towel or blanket.
- Fill a container with cereal or other object that will rattle when you close the lid and shake it. Ask baby what’s “inside” and let baby peek and touch as you name the object. Change the objects as you help baby discover different sounds and objects. Be sure there are no sharp edges on the container.
- Wiggle baby’s fingers and toes as you tell stories, count or sing songs about each one.
- Let baby touch toys and other objects as you raise them “up” and let them fall “down.” Then let baby try.
- Turn off the television.
- Read picture books aloud, walk outdoors, and let your child experience various sights, sounds and textures.
- Cuddle, talk in loving tones, and nurture with gentleness.
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