Week 3: Sensory and Environment
sensory activities for your 1-6 month old
The best time to engage in one-on-one play with your baby is when he is alert and happy— after a feeding or once fully awake after a nap.
Read baby's cues— she will let you know when she's had enough (close eyes, turn away, cry) and when she is ready for more stimulation.
If your baby appears sensitive to different textures, let him experience them slowly, on his terms. And re-introduce gradually.
Repetition is best in short and frequent bursts.
You are also your child's best advocate. If you see any signs of delay in development, speak to your physician. Early intervention can prevent small dysfunctions from turning into full-blown disorders.
Keep note of your baby's visual development as it is important because a young baby's movement is based on motivation, and the primary source of his motivation is visual input.
The greatest visual stimulation you can offer your baby is yourself. Babies love to watch faces. By three months, he will look at his hands and use as self-entertainment.
Place on back or in a reclined seated position so that baby can engage in visual activities without working on using muscles. You can also place a hand on his chest to give some comforting feedback.
Move baby's positions as well as encourage baby to follow your face from side to side.
By two months age, baby can see up at the ceiling.
Mirror play is great.
vestibular and proprioceptive input
The vestibular system helps us influence muscle tone and develop our sense of balance. The proprioceptive sense lets us know where our limbs are in relation to each other and in the context of our surroundings.
Movement is key.
- Rock & bounce your baby
- Roll your baby (very beneficial)
- Push stroller both slowly and quickly
- Use bucket swing at local park
- Roughhouse, play on physio ball, give airplane rides!
How your baby will respond to various textures and pressure during different movements, depends on how well he integrates sensory information.
- Massage baby- hold and rub soles of feet
- Place different objects (vary shape, size, firmness) in baby's hands
- This will also help desensitize the mouth as baby coordinates hand-mouth play
- Embrace the mess
- Encourage play in and around water, sand, mud, grass
Every baby responds to noise differently. Some do not mind sirens and vacuums while others become very upset when they hear loud, unexpected noises.
Since babies move in response to sound, auditory input also fosters motor and speech development.
- Play and sing music
- Use bells and rattles
- Talk to your baby
- Say their name
- Use musical instruments (a pot and spoon will do)
- Read two books a day
smell and taste
Since infants' sense of smell is generally heightened, it is important to keep your baby away from noxious doors and to let him experience pleasant ones, such as milk, good food and flowers. And of course, their most favourite smell will be YOU.
Diffusing high quality essential oils is also a nice way to promote nice smells in the home.
At this stage, your baby is putting his hands in his mouth. Encourage this because this mouth play desensitizes the mouth, decreasing sensitive to food, brushing and mouthing objects. Chewing and sucking on toys also helps develop the oral-motor muscles that are needed later on for more developed chewing and speech.
space at home
- Keep it simple
- Declutter and minimize toys to optimize play and reduce sensory overload
- Clear an area for baby to play on the floor
- To make life simpler, have a place for everything
Have too much stuff? Not sure where to start? I wrote a beautiful ebook on reducing kids' stuff. You can read more about it here.
signs that your child may be sensitive to input
- Becomes excessively fussy during changing time
- Avoids tasks that are wet or messy (finger painting)
Has an aversion to stepping on sand, mud, grass
- Is very fussy about clothing choices
- Continues to take clothes off or needs to wear long-sleeved shifts and pants (to protect from touch)
- Is a sloppy eater (doesn't notice food on face)
- Does not like to have hair combed, to have teeth brushed or to be bathed
- May need to touch everything or everyone
Vestibular and Proprioceptive
- Avoids trying new positions like rolling, somersaulting,
turning upside down & fears movement (slides, swings).
- Tires easily.
- Avoids playing with two hands
- Has poor protective responses
- Bumps into objects, falls often, loses balance easily
- Is a sensory seeker (spins & jumps alot, never gets dizzy)
- Does not creep or crawl on hands and knees
- Has a weak grasp, low endurance
- Locks joints to stabilize movements
This information is simply to inform and validate if you are seeing something out of the ordinary to honour your child, seek support as needed and also to continue to expose them to activities mentioned above. It is not intended to cause extra fear, worry or stress.
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