Sunday, February 28, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 12: Circular Motion

Of all the stimulation activities, I have always enjoyed motion the most. Linear motion is important (forward and backward, up and down), but I always found rotary motion more fun and relaxing. Rotary motion? Yes, circular motion. . . dancing! If you hold your baby upright in your arms or have him in a sling and you begin to move, then your baby is experiencing rotary motion stimulation.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 11: See and Touch

Is your baby tracking you or objects in your hand? (This is really fun to see when they start watching you eat – around 4 months or so!) For infant stimulation have some fun watching your baby track an object. Hold a soft toy up in the air and slowly bring it close to baby and then back out. Bring the toy in and tickle your baby. Bring it back out and repeat. Watch his reaction as he waits for the tickle! See if he can track the object as you move it side to side – perhaps tickling on hand and then the other.

Even if your infant is not old enough to track the object or expect the tickle this activity is still fun and interactive. Your baby can still see the object when close and feel it when you tickle him and most importantly know that you are having fun together.

Bonus: Add sound: sing a song that matches the movement, make noises that match the movement (whoo whoo, train sounds, airplane sounds)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 10: Reacting to Sound

Infant stimulation activities for hearing are fun; they are exciting and hold a lot of entertainment for you and your baby. As your baby reacts to a sound, then looks around for it, and is ultimately rewarded with your encouragement and smiling face you will find that you are having as much fun as your baby.

Using a rattle gently shake it in front of your baby and allow her to see the object that makes the sound. Then shake it off to one side and see if she looks in that direction. Try it again. Then try it on the other side. How about standing behind her to see what her reaction is. Eventually you will see your baby begin to focus her hearing to find where the object is. Then reward her with a big smile, then ultimately the final cuddle!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 9: Texture and Touch

Tactile stimulation activities – offering infant stimulation through touch – is as easy as giving your baby lots of different things to touch. Make sure nothing is too rough, but expose your baby to different fabrics and textures. Start with a soft blanket and allow your baby to feel its texture for a minute or so. Next, let him feel something harder, like a rattle or teething ring. If you have a baby toy that crinkles, offer that one next.

For newborns, you make take an object and stroke it through his hand; within a couple of weeks your infant will be holding the objects himself. And be sure to smile and enjoy right along with your baby.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 8: MOTION

We haven’t discussed motion yet. Yes, this is a stimulator for your baby. She is learning her preferences and learning about motor coordination as you stimulate movement. For newborns, this is as simple as varying positions – putting baby on her back and putting baby on her stomach. Does your baby prefer being picked up to being put down? That is 4 stimulators for you to try today!



Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 7: Sight

There are so many infant stimulation activities because even the newborn looks for something newer and different. For a two-month old, checkerboard shapes become interesting because they are more complex. He still enjoys the contrast of the black on white geometric shapes, but it is already time for something more interesting.

You can draw a checkerboard shape for baby on a white card and may I also recommend a Stage 1 Babysmartees t-shirt! If you are wearing your shirt allow your baby to focus on the checkerboard shape. Allow her to reach out and touch – hey, two sensations – the visual stimulation of the checkerboard and the softness of the shirt. Complement this activity with the checkerboards on a white card and slowly move the card up, then down, then to one side, then to the other – continuing only if your baby is still alert and interactive. When she is finished, you are finished!

Give her a big cuddle!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 6: Make a Face

Within her second month of life your baby begins to focus on the center of objects. Faces in particular hold her attention. Naturally mom and dad’s faces are the most interesting, but I doubt you have the time to allow your baby to stare at your face all day. So make a face for her! It is as simple as getting a white paper plate and with black ink make a simple but accurate drawing of your face (eg, if you have bangs draw them on the plate). Hang the paper plate on the crib rail or prop it up on a box! Allow your baby to enjoy the stimulation, but don’t leave her too long. She need s you more! Pick her up with a big smile.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 5: Smell

Have you thought about stimulating baby with smells? A newborn's sense of smell is well developed. She is capable of distinguishing smells he likes and those he doesn't. But smell is not merely a pleasant sensation, it has also been found to be important for motor growth promoting involuntary and skeletal movements. In other words - your baby sniffs and automatically has a reaction!

Offer your baby some pleasant smells: mom's perfume and dad's cologne. Put on cotton ball and wave under baby's nose 3 times. Watch for baby's reaction (if you do not wear perfume or cologne try to identify something similar that identifies each of you via smell - perhaps mom's breastmilk or dad's deodorant - as long as it is something pleasant)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 4: Hearing

Watching your newborn respond to your voice is one of the first joys of parenthood. The reaction a baby has when he sees or hears his parent's voice is a wonderful moment. Now that you have this wonderful thought in your head and you and your baby are in good moods, alert, and ready for some interaction, place your baby in front of you (about 10 inches). Call his name several times in your normal voice. Next begin to vary the pitch from high to low. Observe the response of your baby to the different pitch levels.

Next stand near your baby, but out of sight. Call his name and speak to him (about 15 seconds). See if he will turn to you. If he doesn’t try a high pitch voice then a low pitch one to see what may stimulate your baby to turn and look for you.

When your baby sees you – give a him a big smile and then a cuddle!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 3: Wiggle a Finger

Never forget that you want your baby in a good mood when starting any infant stimulation activity. AND never forget that you need to be in a good mood too! The activities should be fun and interactive – always reinforcing your loving relationship with your baby.

So when you and your baby are ready, lay your baby on her back. Bring your right hand in front of her eyes (about 10 inches). Then wiggle your index finger up and down, followed by the middle finger, then the fourth finger, and then the little finger. Once she sees your fingers wiggling, continue to wiggle each finger while moving your hand slowly from side to side. As with all infant stimulation activities, continue for about 2-3 minutes, before she gets bored or tired.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 2: Predictability (routine)

Stimulating your baby and interacting should be done when you baby is most alert, probably after her nap. When you first begin, just 5 minutes will do. Build stimulating interactive fun right into your baby’s daily routine. Baby’s like routine, they like predictability. Think about it, isn’t that the way we all learn. You do “a” (eg baby cries), then “b” happens (mommy or daddy comes to pick me up). Your baby has learned a pattern and how to get you when she needs you. Predictability and routine are important parts of your baby’s cognitive development and therefore part of your infant stimulation program.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 1: Touch

Present you baby with experiences that foster learning and growth. The best way for your infant to learn is by holding him and playing with him. The interaction is the thing! Let’s start with TOUCH, or tactile stimulation. Stroke you newborn often. Caress him across the forehead, down his cheek, across his neck, down his arm, and into his hand – repeat for the other side. Then bring him in for a cuddle.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Key Principle for Infant Stimulation Activity

Infant stimulation activities are fun, important, and influential to your baby’s development. However, these are not exercises in quantity but quality. Baby will benefit most when he is paying attention, therefore, when he is able to pay attention. He shouldn’t be crying, squirming, kicking, or sleepy when you decide to begin stimulation activities. It is likely that baby is most attentive following his nap. Probably the best indicator as to whether it is a good time to begin interactive stimulation is that your baby is responding to the stimulation. Once he is no longer paying attention, begins to look away, concentrate more on his pacifier, or in any way shows distress (eg crying) it is time to stop.

Now how about you? How are you feeling? Yes, this is just as important! You should always be happy when interacting with your baby. It is okay to skip stimulation activities if you are not up to it. If you are in a bad mood or tired it is actually better to skip the activities for the day. Your baby will still learn many things today, he will still be stimulated, and he will still love you. Take a break and come back tomorrow!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Your primary job - know your newborn

Your primary job is to get to know your newborn - and to help your newborn learn who you are. This is the pivotal time to develop a relationship with your infant. But it is not a passive event. Your baby will learn by interaction - interactive stimulation with you!

Infant stimulation can improve your baby’s curiosity, attention span, memory, and nervous system development. In addition, babies who are stimulated reach developmental milestones faster, have better muscle coordination, and a more secure self-image.

So day by day let's explore what stimulation techniques you can enjoy with you infant.