Friday, April 30, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 34: go for a walk

Okay this sounds basic, particularly as the weather warms up around the country, but I will have to repost this in January! Yes, take your baby for a walk throughout all the seasons. My son was born in January – if I waited for Spring that would have been 4-5 months inside! With a newborn! All day! Every day!

Instead, we bundled up and walked and walked and walked . . . every day. Even if baby is bundled up and the cover is over the stroller, the air is still different, the sounds are different, and the motion is different from indoor activities. This is a great time for you to point out some things, “Do you hear a bird?” “Do you hear a car?” “That is a stop sign.” “That is a fire hydrant.” “Do you see the dog?”

Naturally, in the nicer weather your baby will see more, probably hear more, and that fresh air always makes for some great naps!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 33: rhythms and patterns

Round and round the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel.
The monkey stopped to pull up his socks, And Pop! goes the weasel.

Rhyming poetry and nursery rhymes introduce rhythms and patterns to your baby. And with this one, imagine the fun of the sound and facial expression when you get to “Pop! goes the weasel.”

Repeat the verse a few times and bring your baby in for a cuddle!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 32: motion

Maybe it is still cold outside where you are, or perhaps today it is raining, or you just do not feel like going outside. Well, there are still lots of ways to put your infant in motion. Here is a video of a baby being pushed back and forth in his high chair. He is having a blast! The most important points are 1)there is extended interaction with the parent 2) the baby is enjoying himself 3)the parent is enjoying himself - seems all three are going on here.

Ways to enhance this activity include lanuage, perhaps saying "near" then "far." Also, you can move the baby to some music, either you can sing, put on a cd or the radio. Above all, have a good time, smile, and watch for when your baby is ready to stop.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 31: conversation

Is your baby oohing and aahing, and generally making sounds? Make sure you are responding! See if you can get a conversation going. If you are in the kitchen and he begins to talk, say “Yes, Mama is making dinner. Are you hungry?” Then wait to see if there is a response.

Continue asking questions and pausing so your infant hears the sounds, intonation, and general patterns of language and conversation.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 30: exploration

Allow your infant to explore with her hands, her mouth, and her eyes. Naturally she will be using all her senses as she is permitted to sit or lie on the floor and play.

Play with what? Of course it must be something safe for her hands to touch, her mouth to taste, and her nose to smell. Here you can see I gave my son a bowl and spoon! Yes, infant stimulation is not about how much money you can spend on a fancy toy for your child; it is about exploration, learning, fun, and of course interacting with you!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 29: facial expressions

Two months and on is a great time to actively show and explain a range of facial expressions. Draw faces on small white paper plates that show smiling, frowning, laughing, crying, and surprise. Show your baby the plate with the laughing face then say "laughing." Then you do a laughing face for your baby and again say, "laughing." Repeat for each plate or until your baby has indicated that she has had enough (she starts to look away, gets fussy, or is crying).

You can also use the plates at other times as a quiet stimulator: put a plate on the side of her crib to enhance visual stimulation.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 28: eye-to-eye contact

Are you surprised to learn that eye-to-eye contact, especially with a newborn baby, is a stimulator? Your baby will examine the expression in your eyes as well as on your face. Expressions are an important stimulation to babies.

To get your newborn to focus on your eyes try this stimulator in a room with dimmed lighting. Maintain face-to-face contact and allow baby to examine your face and find your eyes. Make sure you have eye-to-eye contact to ensure your baby is looking at your eyes.

Allow baby to examine your eyes and, again, see the expression in them. This should only last a few seconds as newborns have a small attention span and you can repeat a few more times. For older infants . . . well, that is our next blog!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 27: movement stimulation for newborns

Movement stimulation with your newborn is a key principle to an infant stimulation program. Your baby is learning to move himself, learning to move other objects, learning that other people and objects move! So simple, but he doesn't know yet. So it is time to have some fun! (And all this goes for your infant at any age, but the point is that it is never too early to start.)

Have your newborn sitting up in his carrier or whatever infant seat you use in the house.

1) Show him how you move: move your fingers, move your hand, wiggle your toes, stick out your tongue. Smile, frown, open your mouth.

2) Show him how objects move. Show him a rattle. Turn so it is horizontal, then vertical. Caress his skin with it.

Remember, a newborns attention span is fleeting so these are activities to do throughout the day, over the course of a week for different body parts, and of course the variety of objects is endless over the course of months. But definitely watch for the amount of time he is focusing on movement stimulation. It will expand and watching that development is awesome.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 26: interaction v observation

If you think giving your baby black and white toys or the ability to see a black and white mobile is infant stimulation or the way to make your baby smarter, then you are missing the most important and perhaps the best part of an infant stimulation program. Interaction is more valuable than observation. If you are reading a book or the newspaper, put your child in your lap. This will develop your relationship. With that relationship you can promote so much learning, happiness, fun, and love. Babies, just like you and me, learn more from interaction than from observation.

If you have some black and white toys that is great - use them to play with your baby. Pick a theme such as animals or touch, then hold up a teddy bear and say "bear" or "soft". Next pick up a rubber duck and say "duck" or "hard." Your baby won't know a bear or a duck or soft versus hard by looking at these objects. But he will learn what they are when you interact with him. He will also learn how much fun it is to be with you, how much fun it is to learn - and you will find yourself having a pretty good time too!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 25: security

One of the most important sensations your newborn can feel is security. Introduce a security toy to keep your baby company in his crib. How about a black and white panda?! Whatever you choose, the toy should be small, soft, and light weight. As your baby comes to know this toy and find it where he is surrounded by comfort and calm you will be able to use it when surroundings are not so comfortable for baby. For example, if you are traveling and staying in a hotel or at someone's home, your baby will recognize the toy and know that all is well at sleep time.

More ways to make bed time in an unfamiliar place more peaceful to baby is to have established a routine. Sing the same bed time lullaby every night and wish your baby a good night with the same words, "good night," "nighty-nighty," "sweet dreams." Whatever you choose repeat the same words each night and seal it with a kiss.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 24: sounds of speech

Do not be surprised when around 4 months your baby begins mumbling. He is starting to interact with you! He wants to be sociable; he wants to be a part of your world! This is the time to start reinforcing the sounds of speech. You can say and repeat different sounds - especially if you find yourself saying a silly word. Or sing! How about the ABC's! Or the Banana Boat song (you know, "Daaay-O"). How about Baa Baa Black Sheep or Old MacDonald (with all those animal sounds!)
Smile, sing, teach your baby the sounds of his language!