Development & Stimulation:
- By four months your baby is a very capable person! He or she is vocalizing constantly, rolling over, reaching and grasping objects, and clearly differentiating you from strangers. Everything goes in the mouth, as this is the most discriminating sense organ at this age. Weight will soon be double what is was at birth!
- Around 6 months your baby will sit without support and pass objects from one hand to another. Soon consonant sounds such as ba-ba or ma-ma will be added to vocalizations. Often the latter starts with tongue thrusting games such as blowing bubbles or “raspberries”. By 9 months your repeated expressions of delight at hearing “ma-ma” or “da-da” will be starting to teach the baby that words have meaning and that you are called by that name!
- By 9 months babies are also starting to become much more mobile. They may crawl or creep (although many children skip this), or they may be beginning to “cruise” – pulling themselves up on furniture and getting around by hanging on. Appropriate toys for this age group include any brightly colored, noise-making objects small enough to be grasped by little hands yet big enough not to present a choking hazard. You want to expose the baby to a wide variety of shapes, colors, sounds, and textures.
- Also by 9 months certain key signs of normal thinking abilities should start to appear. The most importance of these are “joint attention” and “object permanence”. Joint attention is when the baby actively “shares” his or her attention to something fun or interesting with someone else – usually a parent or sibling. They might point and laugh, and look back and forth from the object to the other person to gauge the other person’s response. Object permanence means that just because something is out of sight, it’s not gone. Children who have object permanence will understand that a hidden object can be retrieved, and will start to enjoy the game of “peek-a-boo”.