In order to help your child progress, stories should be a part of every child’s evening pattern. TV or computer games before bed can be over-stimulating.
Musical mobiles add an extra listen-and-look dimension keeping your baby’s viewpoint in mind. If he or she is looking at the mobile from below, then the interesting features should be visible from that angle. Look for clear shapes, bright colours, bold patterns and light/dark contrasts.
Faces are a child’s favourite image, and their own will be an endless source of amusement. Hang a mirror near their head so the reflection changes when they move. Always use a safety mirror, which are specially designed for babies grips.
Wrist rattles: babies need to discover their hands because they use their fingers to explore the world. When they wave their arms around, the colour and the fun bell-like sounds will soon attract them.
Choose the noisiest, most colourful rattle you can find. They will respond better to primary colours than to pastels. A strong bell or rattle sound, activated by the slightest motion, is most likely to grab their attention.
Touchy-feelies: Collect a basketful of clean, safe materials from round the house, like cotton wool, a flannel, a piece of satin fabric, a paintbrush and a terry towel. Stroke your baby gently introducing them to a variety of sensations – soft, tickly, prickly, feathery and so on.
Balloons: Tie a colourful balloon securely to their cot or pram. Close enough for them to see it wafting in the air.
Crinkly paper: Put some crinkly paper in your baby’s cot, so it makes a scrunching noise when they move their arms and legs.
Give your child a good view of the world by carrying them so that they can see more. When safe, reach out and touch lots of interesting things – inside the home and out. Remember, just about everything is interesting to them. Noise, colour and textures of everyday things will stimulate their senses.
Hang toys at a distance where they can swipe at them, so they always have something interesting to look at. They’ll love to play simple games with you, like peek-a-boo (they’ll never tire of it because your face is so fascinating). Once they can sit up, roll them a soft ball and watch as they attempt to push it back to you. By six months give them a simple button to push or a string to pull that activates a toy.
Try not to leave your child unattended with smaller toys or toys that have attachable small parts. As children love to use their month to explore they will tend to eat or swallow things.
The trick is to plan activities that allow you to do something you enjoy, but that will keep them interested and happy as well. If you’re happy, your child will be too, and vice-versa. Now’s a good time to try some of your favourite pastimes, and adapt them to suit you both – biking through the countryside, walking round castles and gardens, or hanging out at the local pool.