From “just lying there” to crawling and jumping, discover how your tiny action hero should be performing…

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0 to 6 months

* Your newborn uses his body’s movements to connect with you. For instance, when he hears your voice, he’ll turn his head towards you.

* Give him plenty of tummy time. Initially, he may struggle to lift his head, but as his neck and upper body strength improve, he’ll be able to lift his head while on his belly and use his arms to prop himself up.

* By the third month, he’ll be stretching and kicking his legs, which will strengthen his leg muscles. He’ll also do this when he’s excited, maybe when he’s trying to tell you to keep singing to him!

* Though bubba can grasp in reflex from birth, he’ll be able to open and shut his hands at will at around 3 months. This lets him shake a rattle or a toy, or drop it when he’s lost interest.

Offer him action-oriented playthings, like balls and pull-along toys.

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6 to 12 months

* By about 6 months, your tyke can probably flip over, as well as sit up. To encourage him, wiggle a toy next to the side he usually rolls to, or get down on the floor with him, so that he’ll roll towards you.

* To get around independently, he’ll start to crawl by learning to balance on his hands and knees. He’ll also figure out how to push off with his knees to move forward and backward.

* This is a good time to promote your sweetie’s fine motor skills, especially if he’s starting to snatch food off your plate. Place four or five pieces of finger food onto his high-chair tray, so that he can practise bringing it to his mouth.

* As his abilities develop, engage him in more physical activities like dancing and clapping along to music, or pretending to waddle like a duck. Offer him action-oriented playthings, like balls and pull-along toys.

He’ll be taking his first step all too soon… read on!

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12 to 18 months

* By now, your tot might be starting to cruise or is even taking his first steps. Help him walk towards you by standing or kneeling in front of him and holding both his hands. A push toy may also help.

* Set up an obstacle course in your home ― use pillows he can climb on and boxes he can crawl through ― to help him hone his newfound abilities (and freedom!)

* His ability to move offers plenty of learning opportunities. When he tries to fit his body into a laundry basket, he’ll find out about different shapes and sizes. When he attempts the playground slides, he’ll discover what’s up and down.

* Let him play with his fingers ― this will help him when he learns to write and tie a shoe lace. Use action songs like Itsy Bitsy Spider and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to encourage him to perfect his fine motor skills.

When he tries to fit his body into a laundry basket, he’ll find out about different shapes and sizes.

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18+ months

* As your kewpie gains greater control of her body, she’ll start to enjoy various movements like climbing, swinging, spinning, bouncing and jumping.

* Now that she’s always on the move, create a safe area at home with child-safety gates or using a play yard. Do give her plenty of outdoor time, as well by taking her to the playground or park for a run.

* Playing simple games will encourage your mini-dynamo to move, as well as build her confidence. Ask her to accomplish a series of actions, like “Go to your room and get me the blue ball, please”.

* Since music is always a hit with tots, teach her dance moves like doing the twist, or marching to a tune. This not only helps her to develop her physical abilities, it’s a great bonding activity, too!

Photos: iStock

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