These are some great activities my fiancé and I did with my son every day when he was three months old. They are kid tested, mommy and pediatrician approved. I say that because my son was performing at three months skill sets most six-month-olds could not master. He amazed his doctor with what he could do, so we must be doing something right. Maybe, just maybe, if you try these activities and do them every day with your child he or she will meet milestones faster than his or her peers!
1.) Baby in the mirror
One of the most important breakthroughs in a baby’s cognitive development is the moment he discovers the baby in the mirror is actually his own reflection. If you pay close enough attention, you will see that moment happen. This spark of self-awareness opens the flood gates for baby as he begins to take in the rest of his world, realizing he is a part of it and can interact with it.
Each day, try to spend at least 10 to 15 minutes in front of the mirror with baby. Allow him to touch the mirror and coo at the baby. Encourage the interaction when he responds to the reflection by being the reflection’s voice. Point to the reflection and say your baby’s name. Then point to baby, touching him, and say his name. Show baby your reflection, then turn him to look at you so he begins to question how you are in the mirror and behind him at the same time.
2.) Simulated walking
Support baby under his armpits and allow him to take steps. Babies are born with a stepping reflex. Some lose it; others maintain it. Encourage walking by giving baby a destination, such as a toy, a pet, Daddy, or even his reflection in the mirror. To read about how I do simulated walking with my son using the mirror, click here.
3.) Mission Impossible Baby
To help my son learn how to sit up, stand up, walk, reach for objects, and bend over on his own I do this thing where I act like his bungee cord suspension system, kind of like how movie stars are hooked up to all kinds of wires to help them jump high and do awesome stunts in movies.
I hold him under his armpits and move with him. If he tries to bend down for a toy I go with the flow and support him while allowing him to move freely.
4.) Explore the environment
You are doing your baby a great disservice if you sit him in his bouncer every day in the same room facing the same objects. Babies need to observe their environment to learn how the world works. And by the time they hit 3 or 4 months they will insist you show them everything. But your arms are going to get super tired if you carry him around everywhere. Enter the Snugli:
I highly recommend one of these carriers. I know they look stupid. I fought my fiancé on this because he wanted one and I thought it was a dumb idea because people look weird using them. BOY WAS I WRONG. This thing has been a lifesaver. My baby LOVES being walked around in this because his is incredibly inquisitive and wants to look at EVERYTHING. Make sure if you get one that it can convert so baby can face in toward your chest AND outward so he can really look at his environment.
5.) Music and rhythm with a rattle
Pat baby’s hand on his knee in rhythm to simple music. Pat your own knee in rhythm as he watches, then take his hand and pat his knee. I do this along to the music of this toy:
You can also use a rattle and shake it in rhythm. My son loves when I shake this rattle in rhythm while singing or chanting (he’s silly):
6.) Sitting up
Any chance you get to help baby sit on his own, DO IT. I started from birth having my son sit on my lap when I burped him. Support his chest, allowing him to lean forward against it while you burp. As baby gets older, support him at his hips and allow him to adjust himself if he sways side to side. You can also try using a Bumbo seat.
7.) Turning pages
Get a soft book, set baby in your lap as you sit “indian style,” and allow him to turn the pages as you read. Here are some great books to use:
For more tips on reading to baby, check out these posts!
8.) Grasping toys
Hold baby over a toy like one of those games with the claw that reaches down and grabs a toy. Baby is the claw. This will help him learn to pick up a toy with both hands! I use these blocks for this activity:
9.) Tummy time
Tummy time is important to help baby develop the muscles he will need to crawl and eventually stand. Encourage tummy time by setting a toy in front of him so he has a goal to reach it. Get down on the ground, face-to-face and cheer baby on. Help him roll over by rocking him back and forth. Show him he can use his arms to lift up his chest. Basically, get involved!
- From Mayo Clinic- What’s the importance of tummy time for a baby? How much does your baby need?
- Parents Magazine- Tummy Time
Toys are also a great way to help baby develop essential skills! However, you need to make sure you are using age-appropriate toys. Check out my page where I review the best toys for your baby’s age: Best Age-Appropriate Toys Reviews.
Top 10 Tips to Help Children Love Reading by Free Little Words