Category Archives: Key Milestones

What is object permanence and what makes it a key milestone?

Have you ever heard the expression “out of sight, out of mind”? As adults, when we see an object is moved out of our sight, we know the object still exists, even though we can’t see, touch, or hear it. However, this is not the case for babies. During the first few months of their lives, when an object is removed from their sight, the object ceases to exist according to them! Nevertheless, around 4-7 months, your baby will begin to understand the concept of object permanence (which is a fancy way of saying that he is starting to understand that when objects are out of sight, they still exist). This is due to the fact that his hearing and vision are almost completely developed!

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Motor milestones: Why tummy time is so important

Did you know that research suggests that babies who spend time on their tummies crawl earlier than babies who don’t? Find out why tummy time is so important for your baby and get tips on how to encourage it!

Why is tummy time so important?

Tummy time will help your baby develop his neck, back, and shoulder muscles needed to accomplish most of his physical milestones, like lifting his head, crawling, and pulling himself up to stand.

While your baby is on his belly, he’ll have to work on some muscle strength because he’ll have to push up, turn his neck, and move around a bit to explore his surroundings. Tummy time helps prevent early motor delays and conditions such as flat head syndrome and twisted neck. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends placing babies on their backs to sleep and on their tummies to play! Continue reading

Motor milestones: Head control

Do you remember the first time you held your baby in your arms? Probably an experience you will never forget, right? Surely you remember your doctor, nurse, or mom telling you to be careful with his/her head. All newborns have little control of their heads because their neck muscles are weak and they haven’t developed the motor skills that will help them support their head. After a few months your baby will acquire this key ability!

One of the first and most important physical challenges your baby will face is learning to support his head and develop the neck muscle to do it. The acquisition of this skill is crucial since it will lay the foundation for other physical milestones like rolling over, sitting, crawling, and walking. Moreover, your baby needs to be able to support his head before you introduce solids to his diet.

We know that each baby develops at their own pace and head control without a doubt will be a skill that your baby will acquire at his own time. However, it is important to understand the development of this ability and be able to identify any possible delays in his development. Continue reading

Motor Milestones: Learning to sit independently

Watching your baby begin to develop independence can be exhilarating. Your baby enjoys this process too since he is able to explore with a different perspective the world that surrounds him.

One way your baby begins to gain independence is learning to sit on his own, but this does not happen overnight. First, a series of steps and motor skills are required for him to master this milestone.

Being able to sit upright means your baby’s neck and back muscles are strong enough to carry their weight in an upright position and he has gained control of his head.

According to Pediatrician Melissa Goldstein M.D. a baby’s development starts from the head down. At 4 months old babies are able to sit down with support from a caretaker or furniture. By 5-6 months old most can sit by themselves in a tripod position in which they position their hands on the floor in front of themselves for reinforcement. At 7 months old they will probably sit on their own for some seconds with no support and free hands to explore and grab objects around themselves. At this point they might even be able to sit up from lying down on their tummy by pushing themselves up from the surface with their hands. Finally, by the age of 8 or 9 months they are likely to sit steadily on their own for some time. Continue reading

The Neuroscience Underlying Your Baby’s Laughing Response

What does laughing communication reveal about your baby’s brain? 

Ever played hide and seek with your baby? What is the sequence of brain understanding in which your baby becomes aware and realizes that you might actually still be there even though you are out of sight? For the first few months of a baby’s life, if you are out of sight this basically means you don’t exist.

          Eye tracking is a process that is developed around 4 months of age, in which a child is able to follow an object with his eyes. However, a child will not be aware when you take an object away from him because he does not realize that the object is out of sight. Around 4-8 months of age, babies develop a better visual acuity and a more mature motor control. This will lead the infant to reach for objects, regardless of how hidden they are. This is indicative that the child is beginning to realize that the object that is out of sight is still there. Around 8-12 months of age, memory is highly developed to the point that they can remember the object. If an object is completely out of sight, they will still look for it. This is precisely why they enjoy playing peek-a-boo and love removing cloths to discover hidden objects. Continue reading

Crawling 101- FAQ answered

Seeing your baby grow and achieve all of his milestones can be so exciting! But the moment you see your little one start crawling you know that the real fun has begun! As you experience all of this excitement, some questions may come up!

Here are our answers to FAQ about crawling:

When should my baby start crawling?

Typically babies crawl at around eight to ten months, but at around six months most babies start trying to move around. As babies figure out how to do that arm-leg-arm-leg crawling movement, they sometimes go backward first and then learn how to crawl forward.

It’s important to remember that all babies are unique and will develop skills at different stages, some more quickly than others. (Note: If your baby is premature he or she will probably take longer than other babies to start crawling.)

The process of learning to crawl is actually pretty complex. Babies need to coordinate their arms and legs and develop muscle strength in their arms, shoulders, and legs to support their weight. But learning to crawl will not only take gross motor skills, by crawling babies develop different abilities and skills like balance, spatial awareness, coordination, and confidence.

Is it alright if my baby crawls different from other babies?

Actually, experts say there is no “right” way to crawl, the process of learning to crawl differs between each baby. Just remember your little one will find his or her unique way to do it and the important part is that he or she is able to move around and explore his or her surroundings.

Here are four different crawling styles that your baby may experiment with:

  • “The classic”crawl- your baby moves one arm and the opposite knee forward at the same time.
  • “The crab”crawl- just like at the beach, the crab bends one knee and extends the opposite leg to scoot forward.
  • “The belly” crawl- your baby moves his body forward while dragging his belly against the floor.
  • “The rolling wonder” – your baby rolls from one place to another, because who needs crawling when rolling can get you where you need to go, right?

My baby hasn’t started crawling. Should I be worried about it?

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Learning to walk: Your FAQ answered!

Your baby will achieve tons of milestones, but his first steps will definitely be one you won’t forget! Walking is a mayor achievement in your baby’s physical development and if you are like most parents, you may be anxious about when it’ll happen and how you can encourage it.

 

When is my baby going to start walking?

Generally babies take their first steps between 9 and 15 months, but remember that babies develop at their own pace. So be patient if your little one is taking his time, some babies start walking later on, at around 18 months, and it’s fine!

Did you know that babies are born with an innate knowledge of the movements needed to walk? They just lack the strength in their legs to do it. If you hold your baby in a upright position you will notice he instinctually moves one foot in front of the other in a walking-like motion. This is called the stepping reflex, which disappears at around 4 months.

How can I know if baby is ready to start walking?

There is not one universal sign that indicates that your baby is ready to take his first step. But most babies accomplish these physical milestones before walking:

  • By 7 and 10 months most babies learn to crawl (although some babies never crawl before walking).
  • By 9 and 12 months babies learn to stand up by themselves. Just remember he may be using some furniture as support, so make sure to baby proof your home!
  • Once your baby masters how to cruise between furniture he will venture to practice his first steps by himself.
What about baby proofing?

As your baby starts to take his first step you will feel tons of joy to see your little one starting to gain his independence, but also you’ll probably feel anxious as you see how every object can become a hazard! You probably baby proofed your home when your baby was learning to crawl, but keep in mind that now he will be able to reach higher objects so just make sure to check again.

The most effective way to ensure your baby’s safety is to take a baby’s-eye view of your home. Get down on your knees and see how things look from down there. This will help you figure out which cupboards, drawers, and other spaces your child might get into.

How can I help my baby take his first steps?

Walking is all about confidence and balance. So the best way to help your little one is by praising and encouraging him every time he tries to walk. His first steps will mean a lot to him so when he reaches this monumental milestone, make sure to make a big deal about it.

You can find tons of activities in Kinedu to encourage and practice this skill! Remember practice makes perfect, so the more he practices the better he will become, and before you know it he will almost be running around!

Here’s one of our incredible activities:

 

Looking for more information? Try these links:
 http://www.babycenter.com/0_toddler-milestone-walking_11739.bc
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002010.htm

 

 

Executive function: the most important set of skills we can teach our kids

Early experiences – whether positive or negative – have a profound impact on the developing brain and its basic neural circuitry, which in turn provides the foundation for more complex higher-level skills. Of these higher-level skills, executive function has been gaining a lot of attention lately – and rightly so. Executive function helps us focus on different information at the same time; make decisions; review and change plans as necessary; and control our emotions and impulses. Laying a strong foundation in order to allow the acquisition of these executive function skills is one of the most important tasks of the early childhood years because they are so critical to adult functioning. Executive function serves as the brain’s air traffic controller – managing all the different signals, impulses, and desires of the brain. The brain’s prefrontal cortex is critical to executive function, but it does not act alone, as it controls behavior through interactions with the rest of the brain. By the time a child’s first birthday comes along, the brain – which originally worked almost as a set of isolated neurons – starts to function as a large network of interconnected areas. This begins to allow coordinated action and the management of different impulses. As adults, this translates into an ability to multitask, display self-control, stay focused in spite of distractions, and follow multi-step directions – all critical to achieving our goals, getting along with others, and becoming contributing members of society. Continue reading

The first few years: visual development

Visual development is a sub-domain of the Physical Developmental Area!

Your baby was born with a 20/400 vision – or the equivalent of being legally blind. But not to worry, your baby’s vision will gradually improve. His vision will actually be one of his main tools for learning by taking in all sorts of information about the world around him. Problems with eyesight can cause developmental delays – so make sure your doctor checks your baby’s progress at every visit.

While he can only see out of the periphery in the first few days after birth, your newborn’s not-that-great vision actually serves to protect him from overstimulation. At one month, he will only be able to focus on objects less than 12 inches away! This is about how far the face of the person holding him is, which is mainly what he’ll be interested in anyway. So give him tons of face time, and watch him smile every time he catches a glimpse of your eyes! It is also normal for a baby’s eyes to be crossed the first two months – but eye movements should be coordinated by month three.

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The first few years: auditory development

This article discusses the development of your baby’s sense of hearing  – a sub-domain of the Physical developmental area!

Your baby was born with an excellent sense of hearing – almost as good as an adult’s. He has actually been eavesdropping on your conversations since his 20th week in the womb! So by the time he is born, not only can your baby hear your voice clearly, but he can differentiate between several tones you use, even if he can’t quite understand what you are saying yet. All that practice listening to your conversations has paid off!

Hearing will be important in the development of linguistic, social, and cognitive skills, so checking your baby’s before leaving the hospital is recommended. If you don’t get the chance, look for the Moro reflex by startling him with a loud or unexpected noise before the two-month mark, when the reflex disappears.

One of the earliest auditory skills developed by your baby will be localization – or the ability to pinpoint a sound’s source. During his first year, listening skills will be refined – which you will be able to notice by observing your baby’s attention shifting to the phone ringing, pots clanging, a door slamming – or just someone talking.

You can work on your baby’s audition by playing or making music together, reading to him, and talking to him on a day-to-day basis. Phase out the baby talk gradually, and start providing more opportunities for him to babble, and later speak his first words. Between age one and two, his vocabulary will be growing at an incredible pace, tripling every six months. And by the time he starts school, your now-preschooler will understand nearly everything that is said!

Every child develops at his or her own pace. However, there are things you can do to help his development along. Here’s a Kinedu activity that works to strengthen audition!