Babies love faces, so have fun making silly expressions, sticking out your tongue and opening and closing your mouth. Make the actions exaggerated and give her plenty of time to respond. By six months she’ll be good at imitating you so try blinking and blowing raspberries. She’ll also start to smile – there’s nothing quite as amazing as the first time she smiles back at you…
Baby boost: by watching your face, she’s beginning to interact and develop language skills.
At just a month old, your baby’s hearing will be fully developed. He’ll particularly respond to high-pitched sounds – you’ll probably find yourself talking in a higher voice than usual without even realising.
Baby boost: singing to your baby is relaxing for you both. And listening to music boosts his memory – if a baby hears the same tune enough times, he’ll start to remember it.
Look at that!
Your baby will be drawn to movement, lights and reflections from the window. Put her near a window where she can watch trees moving in the breeze or the curtains fluttering. On a sunny day, a prism hung at the window will cast rainbows around the room. The reflections of a fish tank also make fascinating viewing, and a mobile hung over her cot or changing mat will keep her entertained.
Baby boost: turning her head to look will strengthen her neck muscles. Watching things move helps develop eye muscles.
Babies are familiar with their parents’ voices from the moment they are born, so he’ll love you chatting to him. It doesn’t matter what you talk about – give a running commentary as you change his nappy or get him ready to go out. And look at him when you’re on the phone – he’ll think you’re talking to him and love it!
Baby boost: hearing you talk is fundamental to your baby learning to talk. By around 9 months he’ll be able to mimic sounds, so the more vocal you are the better!
From just a few weeks old, she’ll love to watch you. Put her in a bouncer and let her watch you go about your daily business. Stop and say ‘hello’ from time to time so that she can enjoy the social interaction. Have her in the kitchen with you while you cook – just make sure that her chair is well away from anything that could drop on her. Babies love the hustle and bustle of family life so the more coming and going the better.
Baby boost: seeing something drop to the floor is the first step to learning about gravity, and watching you chopping vegetables will teach her that a knife makes a noise when it hits the board. As well as learning about cause and effect, she will also get used to a variety of noises.
Babies are born with a good sense of touch, so make the most of it by collecting together a selection of fabrics such as satin, velvet, cotton, wool. fake fur and leather. Gently run them through your baby’s hands or stroke them over his cheeks. As he gets older he’ll be able to reach and grab the fabric himself. Put your collection into a bag and give it to your baby to play with from time to time. You could also give your baby a furry toy or textured boardbook, or wear different fabrics for him to feel.
Baby boost: He’ll learn to make sense of the different textures he touches and know the difference between hard, soft, rough and so on.
From about 4 or 5 months, her increased neck control means you can bounce your baby on your knee, whizz her up high and even do a ‘baby blast-off’, launching her into the air. Or try perching her safely on a surface, then singing Humpty Dumpty and zooming her down at the ‘had a great fall’ bit. Roly-poly is another fun game. Lie her on a double bed or duvet and roll her across one way then the other.
Baby boost: physical play boosts interaction and bonding, but take your lead from your baby – she might not always be in the mood.