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 those 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 your baby’s 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,” you’ll 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.”