Helping Your Baby Reach Their Developmental Milestones
Around the age of four months, babies begin to reach for and grasp objects. This occurs when the baby’s eyes begin to focus and work together to gain depth perception. This is the age where you need to beware of broken necklaces and earrings being ripped from the ear. They WILL grasp at anything and everything they have in reach.
Some babies just excel quicker than others. I firmly believe that the ones who excel quickest have a combination of a natural tendency to excel in certain areas and supportive parents who encourage development. Offering enticing colorful toys is one way for parents can help aid children to begin reaching earlier rather than later.
As a baby is learning to reach, their precision won’t be the most accurate. That is normal! No need to worry. Giving your baby toys that will be rewarding is key! Choosing toys that will make noise as they move their arms will help the baby to notice that if they move their arm “this way”, they will hear a noise they pleasant to their ears. However, when they don’t move their arms, the noise doesn’t happen. Cause and effect will become an educator and encourager to your little one.
After he or she becomes better with controlling the movement of their hands more precisely, they will then begin to transfer items from one hand to the other. Their hands will begin recognizing the different textures of the toys they are playing with.
There are several ways you can help your child with grabbing, grasping, and moving objects from one hand to the next.
- Introduce toys that will encourage movement and increase their fine motor skills.
- Hold two toys out in front of the baby to help them practice reaching. Eventually, they will try reaching for both toys, one with each hand.
- Show your baby how the toys work. A lot of what they learn is by trial and error but also by example. You will notice that your child may find new buttons that make noise, find a moveable part of the toy, realize there is texture on the toy that they had not noticed, or they may find if they spin part of the toy, the toy makes noise. You will notice once they explore a new feature on the toy, they will use that feature over and over. Sometimes it just takes showing them how it works.
- Place hand puppets on their hands. Their hands are some of the first “objects” they explore. Hand puppets can be entertaining for a little one but it also cuts down on the germs. Purchase machine washable puppets so that you can keep them sanitary.
- Give your baby options. Have toys available when they are riding in their car seat, riding in a stroller, or laying on the floor.
- Find toys that dangle to help your baby with their hand-eye-coordination.
Great Toys to Help Encourage Babies to Reach
Hape Toys has great toys in general but when it comes to toys that help babies learn how to reach, Hape Toys has the best! Here are a few of my favs and why!
Even before a baby turns 4 months old, their vision is increasing daily. They start to explore their surroundings with their eyes. Bright colors, moving objects, and noises will be sure to catch their attention. That is one of the reasons I love the Portable Baby Gym by Hape Toys. Their colors are bold, the toys dangle, and they most definitely catch the eye of even a two-month-old.
The second reason I love the Portable Baby Gym is because of the quality of the gym. The gym is made of wood. We all know that wooden toys seem to last much longer than plastic toys. The toys that dangle can be removed for easy washing. They can also be removed so that you can change up the scenery for your little one. You will notice that your baby will most likely favor looking in the same direction when he or she is in the two to the three-month range. Switching the toys gives your child something new to look at any time they are laying under it.
To begin with, most babies will start accidently bumping their hands into the triangle-shaped rattles that spin on each side of the gym. As they get in the three-month range, they will not be reaching to hit the toys above them but they will begin to intentionally spin the triangles on the base. This is where cause and effect come into play. They hear the rattle and want to repeat the same noise.
As your child gets closer to four months, they will begin reaching for the dangling toys. Soon, your baby will be sitting up and playing with the portable baby gym from a seated position.
The mat is easy to zip into a carry sized pouch. It will help keep your child sanitary but it also provides a cushion for your little baby’s head.
During these stages where your child begins to grasp items, their pacifier will be one of those items. Keeping their pacifier at arms reach helps a baby become independent without allowing them to throw their pacifier on the floor can be a bit of a challenge.
The wooden Ladybug Pacifier Clip is made up of multiple wooden pieces. Your baby will love spinning the wooden pieces, chewing on them, and looking at the colorful leaf and ladybug. Mom, you will love that your child’s pacifier will be much easier to find throughout the day. Just clip it on your little one and it will stay all day long.
Another favorite is the Bumblebee Pram Chain from Hape Toys. Attaching the toy to either a car seat or stroller adds fun when on the go. We do a lot of traveling, so having a toy that hangs within reach helps keep the baby happy while riding.
The Bumblebee Pram Chain has a soft rattle sound and a slight jingle that is pleasant but still rewarding for your child. One of my pet peeves is a loud, annoying rattle. This one is truly a pleasant sound. It is enough to keep my little one happy when playing without waking him if he accidentally hits it in his sleep.
Helping your baby reach their highest potential is a rewarding experience. It is so exciting to see your little one soaking up the newness of everything around them. You can almost see them learning!!