By about 5 weeks your newborn is able to start tracking objects. With practice your baby is strengthening their eye muscles as they track moving objects. This is important for reading, writing, and hand-eye coordination. As you continue to have your child track moving objects both visually and auditorily (by sound) they are getting better at following you and objects around the room. By about four months your baby is starting to turn their head to look for a familiar person when they hear that familiar person’s voice. This brings together vision, hearing, and muscle control.
- You may find it helpful to have a rattle, high contrast card, mirror, or an object that makes noise. You can also have your little one track your smiling face too. Lay your child on a play mat or flat surface either on their tummy or back.
- Get their attention with whatever object you’re using in front of their face. Once you have their attention, you can slowly move the object to each side allowing your child time to follow or catch up. Using an object that makes noise can help you keep or regain your little one’s attention. Talk to your baby as you are doing this. Sing a song, tell nursery rhymes, or talk about what you are going to do today.
- Move the object up, down, side to side, bring it from behind your child's head and making noise with the object to see if your little one can track the sound too.
- During different tracking play sessions, start at different places. Start off to the side and use the object to make noise to have your child track the sound and gain their attention that way.
- Though tracking is easy to do with your child sitting up or laying on their back, it is also a great tummy time activity. This can encourage your baby to lift their head up off the ground and can also encourage your them to begin to roll over!
Have your baby lay on their tummy in a room with the lights off. Use a flashlight to cast a light on the floor in front of your baby. Have your baby watch the light in front of them as you move the light up, down, and side to side. Keep the light on the ground or a wall but always away from their eyes.
- Fine motor development
- Strengthening eye muscles
- Cognitive development
- Gross motor development when you are tracking while doing tummy time
- Language development