Even when your baby is in utero, he’s already making full use of his senses. He’s always listening to the sound of your voice and tasting the food you eat! However, it is only after he’s born that his hearing, touch, smell, taste, and sound are honed to help him thrive. Whatever he experiences through these functions give him nuggets of info he’ll store in his brain. He’ll then use this material ― even the smallest facts will shape his understanding ― to construct a view of the world he is living in. Here’s a by-month guide to your mini-me’s growing senses.
0 to 6 months
* From the start, your newborn’s delicate skin is highly sensitive to any touch, especially in areas around his mouth, cheeks, face, tummy, hands and feet. Give these areas a gentle tap and you’ll see him move and react.
* Your infant is able to detect your body’s smell, which he associates with comfort and security. These smells can come from your breasts, underarms and even those of your beauty products.
* By 3 months, your baby will be able to track the movement of a moving toy car with his eyes, but he would rather study your face and gaze into your eyes. Carrying and holding him close will allow him to study your face in greater clarity.
* Your voice is the sweetest sound he’ll like to hear, so go on and use baby talk with him ― describe what the clothes you’re putting on him or even what’s next on his routine. Try jiggling a rattle, his eyes will be drawn toward the object.
6 to 12 months
* Besides reading books to her featuring bright and vivid colours, boost your baby’s vision by going outdoors, so that she’ll explore a new environment and see new things. Why not plan a trip to the supermarket or the zoo with her?
* It’s time to start weaning her, just be sure to grind these solid foods into smooth consistency. You’ll discover that your sweetie will much prefer sweeter foods to sour and bitter ones ― this is because humans are hardwired this way. You’ll be tickled to watch her squirm when she gets her first taste of lemon juice when you spoon the juice into her mouth.
* By 8 months, she will start mouthing words she hears most often, like “milk”. Her enunciation still requires some work, so it’s likely to end up sounding like “mil” instead.
* If you haven’t started the childproofing process, do it now. Your little one will be reaching her hands out and grabbing everything she can get her hands on ― so, keep choking hazards out of her reach as she’ll be putting everything into her mouth!
Up next, sensory milestones toddlers 12 months and older should meet…
12 to 18 months
* As his eyesight develops, so will his motor skills. He should be able to spot his stuffed toy from across the room, keep an eye on it and move toward it.
* His listening skills will also get an upgrade as he gains understanding of new words. Suggest the word, “ball”, and he’ll turn his head in its direction. Read to him whenever you can, it will build his listening skills and smarts at the same time.
* Your toddler’s vocabulary is expanding at warp speed. Starting with single words such as nouns like “dog” and “go”, he’ll soon be forming pairs of words and phrases like “Me want” and “You put”. Help your toddler learn to talk by giving details of what you’re doing as you go about our day, like “I am going to hang up the laundry now”.
* Let your little one handle food during mealtimes and boost his sense of touch. He will learn how ice is cold to the touch and tomatoes are soft and squishy. If you are afraid of cleaning up the mess later, slipping a washable plastic mat beneath his high chair can help you protect your floors from stains.
* Enhance your child’s fine motor skills and sense of touch by exposing her to different playing materials like play dough and Kinetic Sand. Just make sure you keep an eye on her to stop her from popping these items into her mouth.
* Lighting lavender scented candles have been found to have a calming effect on not just adults but kids, too. Through time, your toddler will also begin to associate the scent with the security of home.
* If you notice that your child cries upon hearing sounds like flushing toilets or clanking silverware or has a poor sense of balance — she often falls down — she may have a sensory processing disorder. These children suffer from a hyper- or hyposensitivity to sensory messages from their surrounding environment.
* As your toddler grows, try your best to avoid giving her foods that are rich in refined sugar or salt. The longer you are able to hold back on these unhealthy foods, the less likely she is to develop tooth decay and other chronic health conditions like diabetes and obesity.
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