Give ’em a boost

By two months, your little is already leaps and bounds ahead of where she was at birth. With a few playtime tweaks from here on out, you can give her a leg up on upcoming milestones.

2 months in:

-Show excitement when your baby makes a sound.
-Repeat sounds she makes back to her (but use plenty of clear language, too).
-Talk about what you’re doing as you feed, dress and bathe her.
-Play with toys at her eye level, so she keeps her head up.

4 months in:
-Have quiet playtimes when you read or sing to your baby.
-Put toys nearby, so she can reach for them or kick her feet.
-Place a rattle in her hands and help her hold it.
-Hold your baby upright with her feet on the floor and sing or talk to her.

6 months in:
-Use “reciprocal” play—when she smiles, you smile.
-Repeat her sounds and say similar (but simple) words—if she says, “bah,” you say, “bottle” or “book.”
-Point out new things and name them. (This also works with pictures in magazines.)
-Put your baby on her tummy or back with toys just out of reach to encourage rolling.

 9 months in:
-Play games with “my turn, your turn,” like peekaboo or hide-and-seek.
-Describe what your baby is looking or pointing at. It’s not just a ball; it’s a round red ball.
-Ask for behaviors that you want rather than focusing on those you don’t. (For example, “time to sit” instead of “don’t stand.”)
-Teach cause and effect by rolling balls and pushing buttons on toys that make noise.

 12 months in:
-Keep reading to your child every day—take turns labeling pictures.
-Build on what your child says. (If she points and says, “dog,” respond with, “Yes, that’s a big brown dog.”)
-Show her how to draw lines, and praise her when she tries to copy them.
-Play with blocks or shape sorters that encourage her to use her hands.
-Sing songs with actions, like “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Wheels on the Bus.”



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