The new things your baby will begin doing and the excitement baby will have for new discoveries are sure to bring you pleasure as the week progresses. The concept of whole-body awareness is emerging. The awareness will begin with hand-to-mouth play, hand-to-hand play, and work its way down to hand-to-foot play. Also, at this stage of development, it is important to keep in mind that muscle mass is outweighed by body fat. This means your baby must work on strengthening arm and leg muscles to be able to master the art of supporting himself/herself in a push-up position while lying on his/her belly and to be able to apply the necessary amount of pressure for standing on his/her legs with your assistance. There are many fun ways to help your baby master these developmental milestones while experimenting with cause and effect relationships and working to develop baby's hand-eye coordination.|
Tips and Tricks
- Your baby's thumb is the key to the hand. If your baby tends to hold a fist, gently pry the thumb out to encourage your baby to release the rest of the hand.
- Place an infant toy on your child's chest or hold the toy carefully above the chest to encourage the child to bring the hands together at the center of the body. This exercise will assist in midline alignment which is important for balance.
- Use brightly colored toys that have textures and patterns to stimulate excitement.
- At different times throughout the day, place age appropriate toys within reach of your baby to encourage reaching for toys. Doing so will provide the opportunity to gain a better understanding of how baby's own body parts move as baby interacts with movable objects.
- Begin with hand-to-hand play at the chest. Then move to foot-to-foot play. Next, work on connecting those concepts, and introduce your baby's hands to his/her feet.
Hand-to-hand Creative Play
The following activities are designed to further assist your baby in developing an understanding of balance as he/she works on bringing his/her hands together to a midline position. The activities will involve the use of rattle socks to encourage baby to grasp and shake.
- Use feet rattles/rattle socks for this activity by placing one rattle sock on your baby's hand and one stretched over your fingers. Since mimicking is an important part of your child's development, show your baby how to bring the rattle to his/her chest to touch the opposing hand. Do this a few times to model, and then assist your baby with the task. Attempt to get your baby to grasp the sock with his/her empty hand. Show your baby how the rattle makes a sound.
- Place rattle socks on both of baby's hands and mimic how to shake the hands. Sing a fun song with your baby as you provide the hand motions to the song for a better understanding of range of motion, sound, and how to bring baby's hands to the midline position.
Foot-to-foot Creative Play
The following foot-to-foot activities will help your child build strength, coordination, and awareness of his/her feet. Foot-to-foot play is done both barefoot and with rattle socks and will show baby how to kick and resist using the bicycle motion.
- Clap bare feet together as you sing "Patty Cake." When encouraging your baby to engage in foot-to-foot play, it will be helpful to have your baby play barefoot. Not only will this help to stimulate nerves located on each foot, it will be good for your baby to see his/her toes and how they move.
- Place rattle socks on your baby's feet. Shake baby's feet to demonstrate how to get the rattles to make sounds. Hopefully, after doing this a few times, your baby will pick up on the motion and begin kicking without your assistance.
- Hold onto your baby's legs and push them up together toward his/her chest, then bring legs out into a straight position. Encourage your child to push his/her legs back towards you to help strengthen the leg muscles. Once baby is able to provide resistance with legs together, then try alternating each leg in a bicycle motion and applying resistance to the feet with your hands to encourage kicking you back.
Hand-to-foot Creative Play
This activity is designed to help your child become more aware of his/her body and how the hands and feet can work and move together.
- Place your baby on your lap with his/her head positioned closest to your knees. At this point your baby is possibly outgrowing your lap; however, this position will provide enough support and force your child to curl his/her legs up toward the chest. Reintroduce your baby to his/her feet and toes, and gently demonstrate how those little feet are able to rotate and move. Place your child's hand on his/her toes in an attempt for baby to grasp them. If baby's toes still seem a little out of reach, place the rattle socks on your baby's feet which might gain him/her an extra inch or so. Watch as your baby plays with intrigue and excitement and begins to explore how independent body parts are able to work together. Remember to keep those little feet clean! It is not uncommon for baby to begin putting those little feet into his/her mouth once the task of hand-to-foot coordination is mastered.