Your baby learns best when you offer him lots of challenges and opportunities to try new things. He also needs your loving support when he gets frustrated. Keep these tips in mind as you engage your little one in play:
- Observe objectively. Be aware of your baby's rate of development, and his temperament, so that you can help him achieve new heights at his own pace. Notice when he's mastered a skill, such as following simple movements with his eyes. Then raise the bar, say by giving him more complex motions to track.
- Make it multi-sensory. If your baby doesn't respond yet to objects she's seeing, try giving her sound cues to spark her interest. To encourage your older baby to reach for a toy, make it one with appealing textures. Or allow her to chew on it first, then move it just out of her grasp.
- Encourage exploration. Praise him highly for succeeding, but praise him equally for trying new things. Find ways for him to achieve small, confidence-building successes.
- Baby-proof your home. Make sure everything within your child's reach, especially her toys, is safe for her to grasp and mouth. That way you can allow her the freedom to explore — without having to stop her abruptly to say "No!"
- Help discreetly. Do little things to make your child's tasks easier without him knowing, so that he will gain confidence and continue to explore. For example, offer him a steady surface for stacking his blocks so they'll be less likely to fall.