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Your Baby's First Milestones
It is always fun to see your little one grow a little more every day! Having a child means going through a lot of first-time experiences, as babies have the whole world to discover. From the first smile to the first time crawling, from the first steps to the first words. You will never cease to be amazed by how fast your baby is learning, growing, developing.
Let’s go through some of the great milestones in the early development!
Hand-eye coordination is the ability to coordinate the movements of the hands and the eyes simultaneously. It allows infants to efficiently control the movement of their hands based on the visual information received from the eye. This important skill plays a crucial role when participating in tasks and activities, such as playing music, writing or typing, cooking, doing sport, and more! A good hand-eye coordination will ensure a more precise movement, contributing to an adequate dexterity and overall better physical capabilities.
Hand-eye coordination develops gradually over time as babies grow.
In their first few months, they begin to track objects with their eyes, focusing on and following moving objects or people.
Between 3 and 6 months, babies will first start to reach for and grasp objects. They are slowly improving their ability to judge distances and coordinate their hand movements with what they see.
Between 6 and 9 months, they develop more refined hand-eye coordination and become better at reaching, grabbing, and manipulating objects. They usually can transfer objects between hands, bang them together, and explore different textures.
Between 9 and 12 months, babies start to engage in more sophisticated activities, such as using their fingers to pull, poke, and point at objects. They practice picking up smaller objects using the pincer grasp (thumb and forefinger).
Toddlers continue to improve their hand-eye coordination, becoming more precise in their movements. At 18 months old, they can stack blocks or turn the pages of a book. They are able to use objects in purposeful ways, like a puzzle piece in its proper place.
Hand-eye coordination development in babies is important for several reasons. It contributes to motor skills, independence, cognitive development, visual perception, learning and academic readiness, as well as physical fitness.
A good hand-eye coordination lays a foundation for overall physical and cognitive development. Parents can support and encourage their child's development by providing age-appropriate toys, such as crib mobiles, textured balls, shape sorters, stacking toys, and simple puzzles. Remember, it is important to choose toys that are safe for infants, free of small parts or chocking hazards.
Tummy time refers to the practice of placing infants on their stomachs while they are awake and supervised. It is an essential activity for babies to develop their physical skills and strengthen their muscles.
Tummy time is recommended for newborns starting from a few days old. It should be carried out regularly throughout the day. Babies may only tolerate a few minutes of tummy time at first, but they can gradually increase the duration as they become more comfortable.
There are several benefits of tummy time for babies.
It strengthens muscles in babies neck, shoulders, and upper body. As they lift their heads and prop themselves up on their forearms, they develop the necessary physical strength that will eventually allow them to roll over, sit up, crawl, and eventually walk.
It enhances motor skills, allowing babies to practice and refine their motor skills. It encourages them to push up, reach out for toys, and eventually attempt to roll over and crawl.
It promotes visual stimulation, as babies explore and interact with their environment from a different perspective. They can see and engage with objects and people around them, enhancing their visual development.
It improves their core strength and balance, activating the abdominal muscles and supports the development of core strength and balance. These skills are crucial building blocks for alter motor milestones, such as sitting, standing, and walking.
Tummy time should always be supervised to ensure the baby’s safety. Start with short periods throughout the day and gradually increase the duration as your baby becomes more accustomed to the position. Make sure to provide a comfortable and safe environment, using an age-appropriate playmat.
You can make tummy time enjoyable by using engaging toys and mirrors to distract the child. Spending time interacting with your baby while they are on their tummy is also a great idea.
Walking training typically begins when a child is ready to transition from crawling to standing and taking steps. It involves various exercices, activities, and techniques to strengthen muscles, improve balance and coordination, and practice the mechanics of walking.
Initially, the child may need additional support, by holding their hands or using a walking aid, such as a push toy or a walker. This allows the child to practice weight-bearing on their legs and gradually gain confidence in their ability to balance and move.
Walking training often includes exercices to strengthen the leg muscles. This can involve activities such as squats, lunges, or stepping exercices on different surfaces. Strengthening the leg muscles helps the child develop stability and control while walking.
Walking requires good balance and coordination. Walking training may involve activities that focus on improving such skills. Standing on one leg, stepping over obstacles, or walking on uneven surfaces, are good examples of that.
As the child gains confidence and stability, they will reduce support and take independent steps without holding onto anything. This may initially happen for short distances and gradually increase as the child becomes more proficient.
Walking training should be tailored to the individual child’s needs and abilities. It is essential to create a safe and supportive environment for the child during the training process.
Gross & fine motor skills development
Gross, and fine motor skills development refers to the progressive improvement of a child’s physical abilities during their toddler years. These skills are essential when engaging in various physical activities, explore their environment, and perform tasks that require coordination and control.
Gross motor skills involve the movement and coordination of the large muscles of the body. They usually are required for activities such as crawling, walking and running, swimming, jumping, throwing, etc.
The better the gross motor skills are, the easier it will be to participate in sports and recreational activities.
These skills are essential in the overall development of physical capabilities that are essential in everyday tasks and simple movements, such as sitting upright, maintaining balance, and lifting an object.
Fine motor skills involve the coordination and control of the smaller muscles of the body, especially those in the hands and fingers.
These skills are important when it comes to activities such as writing, painting and drawing. They also are essential in the completion of small tasks like tying a shoelace, using utensils, and buttoning a shirt.
Eventually, these skills will enable the child to perform more complexe activities that require a more refined dexterity. Playing musical instruments or typing on a keyboard are good examples. Fine motor skills will also allow them to perform self-care tasks more independently.
This is why it is important that the child engage in various activities to develop these skills. Any toy that is good for hand-eye coordination is also good for fine motor skills development.
Fine motor skills are closely related to a good hand-eye coordination, as it involves coordination and precision of movements.
Whilst becoming a parent is marvelous experience in life, it can sometime be challenging and stressful. You'd be surprised at the number of parents who doubt and question themselves during this period. These concerns always come from good and caring intentions, and they are perfectly normal.
It’s important to note that each child develops at their own pace. There might be some individual variations in these milestones.
If you have concerns about your child’s walking development or if they are not making progress despite consistent training, it’s advisable to consult a pediatrician or a physical therapist for guidance and further evaluation.
Parents should provide continuous encouragement, praise, and positive reinforcement to build the child’s confidence and motivation. Celebrating every milestone and offering verbal or physical rewards can help make the training process more enjoyable and effective.
Make sure to make it fun, and allow your child to learn and adapt at their own pace. But most importantly, trust the process and to accompany your child every step of the way. Seeing your child grow is a beautiful journey!
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