In the beginning it feels like all baby does is eat, poop, and sleep. When Riley was a baby, my husband use to comment on how she was always sleeping. There are small periods of wakefulness in the first few weeks and those times, you probably want to capitalize on with activities to promote their development. Here is an activity to try with your little one to help their focus and attention span.
High-contrast Images during tummy time and play time
Newborn babies don’t see in full color right away and only focuses on things 8-12 inches away. They see in black, white, and shades of grey until their sight is fully developed. This is why high-contrast images of black and white patterns are great for babies to look at. These high contrast images are great for developing your little one’s attention span, improving their memory, and developing their nervous system.
- Set your little one up on a play mat. They can be on their tummy, side, or back for this activity. You might even change their position throughout the activity.
- Set the high-contrast images in a position where your little one can see them (about 8 to 12 inches away for your little one who is 0-12 weeks of age). To promote your child turning their head, change the position of the cards at each new play session.
- Change to new images when your little loses interest in the current images.
- Start with simple high-contrast images and then move to more complex images as your little one’s eye grow stronger
- To practice tracking (around 5 weeks), slowly move the image back and forth in front of your little one’s face. This encourages your little one to follow the image with their eyes. This is important down the road for reading, writing, and hand-eye coordination.
- Hang these high contrast cards against the seat in the car to keep your child interested during car rides.
- Hang a black and white mobile above the changing table for your little one to focus on during diaper changes. Remember to keep the mobile within 8 to 12 inches away. Be sure to monitor your baby to make sure they don’t grab onto the mobile and pull it down.
Importance of Tummy Time
- Tummy time builds muscles and coordination that are needed for gross motor development.
- You can begin tummy time immediately. Tummy time can take place on mommy or daddy’s chest, across your lap, or on a blanket/mat on the floor. You may want to wait until after the umbilical cord has fallen off before starting tummy time on the floor.
- Don’t let your little one fall asleep during tummy time. They should be awake for this.
- Practice assisted rolls going from your little one’s back onto their tummy and vice versa. This is a great way to develop muscle tone and body awareness.
- Gross Motor Development
- Attention Span
- Visual Development*
- Body Awareness
- Muscle Tone