Knowing how to entertain and take care of your baby can be quite an adventure, especially for new parents. Watching your baby closely, being tuned in to their development cues, and trying one thing at a time will help you learn which baby activities are best for your child.
Although there are estimated weeks and months for when babies reach certain milestones, the truth is that every child develops at their own pace. Respecting their unique timeline will help take the pressure off of you and give your baby the room they need to grow. Here are a few 4-month-old baby activities to try at home as you figure out what your baby needs based on their current developmental stage.
Your baby’s development at four months
- They may like to look at their reflection in the mirror.
- They may wave their arms up and down when something catches their attention.
- They begin to express likes or dislikes through facial expressions.
- They may already be strong enough to lift their head and chest while laying on their stomach by leaning on their forearms and elbows.
- They will probably make purposeful movements to pick up objects that are close to them.
- They will begin to be interested in looking around when they are in a new place.
- They may come to a seated position by leaning against pillows, although that’s still a little far off.
Remember, babies develop at their own pace and not all children will have reached these milestones by four months.
The emotional well-being of your 4 month-old baby
As your baby grows up, here are a few ways to care for their emotional well-being:
- Provide care whenever your baby needs it.
- Hold your child in your arms as long as possible.
- Always be present.
- Avoid visiting new places.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that during the first few months of a child’s life parents should attend to their baby’s needs immediately (versus the cry-it-out method, for example). That way, they will establish strong bonds with their parents and feel safe.
A four-month-old baby is at a developmental stage where they need a lot of physical contact. Because of this, you are likely to hear them cry within minutes of laying them down in their crib. That’s totally normal!
4-month-old baby activities
1. Exercise routines
Here are a few activities to help your baby start rolling over and crawling. It’s best to do these activities on a rug or thick quilt. Choosing a a consistent time of day to exercise will also help your baby adjust to the new routine and be ready for playtime.
2. Games with objects
At the age of four months, your baby will start to grab objects and examine them with their hands, eyes, and mouth. Offer them toys that come in different shapes, sizes, textures, and that make sounds to encourage discovery and play.
But don’t let your baby play alone! To maximize the benefit of these activities, show them how to use different objects or toys by shaking and touching each item. You have full permission to drop the toys on the floor to show your baby what happens!
Please remember to keep all of the objects your child touches clean since they more often than not end up in your baby’s mouth.
3. Talk to your baby
Adults talk daily, especially about what they do during the day. Your baby can be a part of that, too! As you move through the day, explain your movements out loud to your little one. For example, “Now we’re getting ready for bath time! See how I’m turning on the hot water?”
Verbally setting expectations with your little one builds communication skills, too. When you are busy and have to leave your baby in their baby carrier, chair, or crib, explain that to them: “Daddy is going to make breakfast while you watch from your chair. I’ll be right here and will talk to you while I cook. ”
4. Music stimulation
Studies have shown that music boosts brain development and social skills in babies and children in general.
One option is to play lullabies or use instruments such as rattles, rain sticks, or keyboards. Show your baby how to use the rattle and then let them experiment on their own!
When you play soothing music for your baby, you are helping them deal with their emotions in a positive way. Once your child feels that someone or something helps them calm down, they are more likely to learn how to do it themselves.
5. Reading stories
While your baby might not fully comprehend what a story is saying yet, letting your 4 month-old baby touch and play with the book will help build their sense of touch and even develop a love of reading in the future.
While reading with your baby, try picking cardboard books or soft vinyl books that can get wet and be washed. The more textures your baby can play with, the better!
Remember that the first time you try a new activity, your 4 month-old baby might get a little fussy. If the irritability persists for more than five days, they may not be ready for it yet. So wait a few weeks, and try again!
What’s one of your favorite 4-month-old baby activities? To find more expert-backed activities for your baby, download the app Kinedu for free!