When babies are born, they are not capable of associating what they see with what they touch. You’ll notice that your baby seems to be looking in one direction, but moves his hands towards another. This is because babies younger than two months old don’t understand that their hands are part of them. But don’t worry, there are many ways to stimulate your baby’s hand coordination. Keep reading to learn more!
How do babies discover their hands?
Hand coordination in infants is vital for the development of physical and cognitive skills. Since birth, babies start to learn about their bodies through sucking and grasping.
In babies, the discovery of one’s hands is something that can be stimulated through the senses and it works like a domino effect. Practice this with your baby by showing him and making noise with a rattle. First, its sound will get his attention and then he will focus on the object. As he sees the rattle, he will follow its movement and try to reach it with his hands. Once your baby gets the toy, he will begin to notice his own hands.
What happens when your baby discovers his hands?
When your baby is about ten weeks old he will begin to discover the use of his hands. You’ll notice how he will start focusing on a toy and smile at it. He will then begin to move his hands towards the object in order to reach it. Here is when your little one will understand that he has control over what he can touch and grasp.
Also, the development of your baby’s vision is very important for his hand coordination. The more visually stimulated your son is, the better he will use his hands. That’s why, at three months old, you’ll notice that your little one begins to focus and follows familiar objects with his eyes, recognizes people, and uses his hands in a more coordinated way.
As your baby becomes aware of his environment, he will begin exploring his surroundings. A common behavior and mechanism of self-discovery are the first encounters with the mouth. That’s why anything that is within your baby’s reach will most likely end up in his mouth; it’s his way of exploring the world.
What can you do to stimulate your baby’s vision development and hand coordination?
- Use a nightlight when you put your baby to sleep.
- Change the position of the crib.
- Alternate sides when breastfeeding.
- Hang a mobile above the crib or changing table.
- Expose your baby to toys of different colors
- Show him toys that produce different sounds (rattles, plastic keys etc.).
- Help your baby explore different textures.
- Play Peek-a-boo.
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