Fun everyday activities to encourage your growing baby’s development

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As your child grows older, so does his universe. Read this article to learn how fun everyday activities can encourage your growing baby’s development.

Your baby is now over six months old and beginning a whole new phase of his life – one which sees him become more active, more curious and more ready to explore the world around him.

As your baby grows, so does his radius of exploration. The fun, games and learning are now not limited to home or short walks to the neighbourhood park. At over six months of age, your baby is becoming more social – there are more playdates, longer car rides, frequent visits to grandparents and perhaps a shopping trip or two with mummy and daddy.

At this stage or rapid learning and exploration, it is important that he receive plenty of stimulation along with proper nutrition to match each development stage.

Providing your child with stimulation does not have to be complex and elaborate. There are so many everyday ways in which you can impact your baby’s development. Here are some easy to do activities for you to engage in with your child to encourage his Cognitive, Motor, Communication and Social skills between the ages of 7 months and 12 months1.

Building cognitive skills

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Playing with toys that invite exploration about its workings helps in cognitive development.

Playing pickup: Retrieve your baby’s toys when he drops them — he’ll probably do this over and over again as he experiments with cause and effect.

Provide toys that respond to your baby’s touch: If a toy makes a noise, lights up, or pops open when handled a certain way, your baby will react with surprise and delight—and work hard to figure out how to make it happen again.

Watch for peekaboo developments: Your baby’s understanding of object permanence is improving, so you’re likely to see signs that he’s catching on that you’re hiding and haven’t really disappeared.

Developing Motor Skills

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Allow the baby to self feed to develop motor skills.

Give toys he can handle: Choose toys that your child can explore with his hands. These items improve his hand-eye coordination and dexterity.

Clear space for crawling: As your baby begins to crawl and then moves on to cruising, make sure there’s a child-safe play space for him to explore.

Add toys to water play: Sit your baby in the bathtub with a few inches of water and an assortment of toys so she can practice sitting and handling objects at the same time. Keep her under constant watch when in the water.

Let him join in feeding: At mealtime, give your baby a wide-handled plastic spoon and a cup to encourage self-feeding.

Encouraging communication skills

Talk to your baby often. Using exaggerated speech patterns and facial expressions will help keep your baby’s attention and encourage him to babble back to you.

Read books: Start with board books and build up to longer narratives. When your baby babbles while looking at a book in an attempt to imitate you, offer encouragement and praise for this early effort at reading.

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Start your child off with board books and encourage communication skills.

Act as narrator: As you stroll down the street, point things out to your baby, and describe what you see, what you’re doing, or where you’re going. Your baby now understands quite a lot of what you say through your body language, tone of voice, and context.

Carry on a conversation: When your baby babbles in long strings of sounds that resemble words and sentences, wait for the inevitable pause and add your own sentence. This pattern teaches him how people have a back-and-forth conversation.

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Being outdoors can help your child expand her vocabulary and improve socialisation skills.

 

Promoting social skills

Make introductions slowly: If your baby is experiencing stranger anxiety, it may take some time for him to warm up to an unfamiliar person. It helps to have the person talk to you in a warm, pleasant way before directly approaching your baby.

Welcome a “lovey”: Have your baby bring a favourite blanket or stuffed animal when he’s visiting a new place or staying with a sitter. Also called a transitional object, a lovey can boost his confidence and help him feel more secure.

Stick to routine as far as possible: Work out a schedule for feedings, naps, and playtime that’s roughly the same every day. Routine is very comforting and helps your baby feel secure. Weekends and weekdays should follow a similar pattern.

Be generous with hugs and skin-to-skin contact: This type of physical contact feeds your baby’s sense of security.

Don’t force sharing: Your baby can’t yet grasp the concept of sharing, so if she gets into a conflict with a playmate over a toy, it’s better to draw her attention to another appealing toy or activity rather than to insist that she share.

Learning and socialisation can also happen outside: long walks in the park (to help increase his exposure and expand his vocabulary)2, a playdate at a friend’s home (to encourage sharing and reduce stranger anxiety)3, a swimming lesson (to build physical strength), a trip to the zoo (to see and engage with animals) or perhaps even sneak in a trip to the mall for themselves.

However, as their baby begins to become more adept and comfortable on these outdoor trips, one of the challenges that mums can face is– the other important aspect of their baby’s growth – nutrition, when their baby is on the move with them.

Help provide your baby’s nutrition even on the go!

There is great news for mums who are concerned about giving their baby well-balanced and proper nutrition no matter where he is and who is taking care of him.

Mead Johnson has just introduced Enfamil A+ Stage 2 with 360° DHA PLUS in Ready-to-Use bottle. Now, your child can get the same nutritional goodness every time, whether they are at home or on the go.

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There is no need for powder mixing or measuring, no added water and no warming required. Just shake, pour and feed!

Enfamil A+ Stage 2 with 360° DHA PLUS in Ready-to-Use is scientifically formulated with 17mg DHA and 34mg ARA per 100kcal.

It contains DHA at levels that help meet recommendations* for infants 6-12 months. DHA & ARA are important building blocks for brain and eye development.

It is also formulated with a unique blend of GOS and Polydextrose (PDX). Prebiotics (GOS) stimulates the growth of beneficial intestinal flora to maintain a healthy digestive system.

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To find out more about Enfamil A+ Stage 2 with 360° DHA PLUS in Ready-to-Use bottles and to request for your free sample, click here.

* FAO/WHO recommends daily DHA intake of 10-12mg/kg body weight for infants 6-12 months.  FAO 2010. Fats and fatty acids in human nutrition.  Report of an expert consultation.  FAO Food and Nutrition Paper no. 91. FAO: Rome.

Breastmilk is the best for babies. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Unnecessary introduction of bottle feeding or other food and drinks will have a negative impact on breastfeeding. After six months of age, infants should receive age-appropriate foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond. Consult your doctor before deciding to use infant formula or if you have difficulty breastfeeding.

References:
  1. Everyday I Learn Through Play: Activities to do with your infant or toddler. Published by Pennsylvania office of child development and early learning. Available at: http://www.ed.gov.nl.ca/edu/earlychildhood/everyday_I_learn_through_play.pdf Last Accessed: April 2016.
  2. Strategies for Promoting Communication and Language of Infants and Toddlers. By Model Demonstration Center for Promoting Language and Literacy Readiness in Early Childhood, Juniper Gardens Children’s Project University of Kansas (March 2009). Available at: http://www.igdi.ku.edu/interventions/Promoting_Communication_rev3-19-09.pdf. Last accessed April 2016
  3. Tomlin, Carolyn, Promoting Social Development Through Play. Early Childhood News. Available at: http://www.earlychildhoodnews.com/earlychildhood/article_view.aspx?ArticleID=620 Last accessed April 2016

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