How to Encourage Your Baby’s Development from 0-3 Months

Congratulations on the new baby in your life!  Whether you are a mom, dad, grandparent, or friend there is so many exciting things to learn about a new child.  From the very first moment they are born, they start to learn.  Everything is new to them, so they start to find ways to process information immediately!  There are many ways to encourage your little one’s development and I will be sharing some of those with you today.

In this guide you will find information about how to encourage development in each area of your child’s development including:  Language, Cognitive, Motor, Social Emotional,  and Self Help.  If you would like to learn more about these developmental categories click here.

Babies can learn from almost anything in their environment.  Providing a few simple toys can also be a good way to encourage motivation to play and learn.  Click HERE to read some examples of great toys for babies 0-6 months.

Wondering how you can help encourage your baby's development? Check out this complete guide on how to encourage your baby's skills from 0-3 months via Parenting Expert to Mom.

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HOW YOU CAN ENCOURAGE LANGUAGE SKILLS:

 

TALK

Monkey hear, monkey say!  Babies need to hear lots and lots of words before they are able to start speaking themselves.  Not only do they need to hear  a lot of different words, but they also need to hear each word many times in order to repeat it.  If you start labeling objects, feelings, actions, and people from day one your little one will be able to imitate those words down the road.

You can introduce your baby to many words by narrating your day.  Talk about what you are going to make for dinner or talk about a what you see while driving in the car.  If you speak multiple languages feel free to speak both to them while they are babies.  This will allow them to learn both, instead of having to teach them desperately later on in life.  There are many benefits for children that grow up bilingual!

SING

What is special about singing is it allows your baby to hear new words in a repetitive way.  We know that repetition is important in order for  a baby to learn a word and singing naturally does that for us.  You can sing simple rhymes during diaper changes or make up your own tunes throughout the day.  Turn on music while in the car and sing along to the tunes.

SOCIAL GAMES

Make silly faces, blow raspberries and play peek-a-boo with your baby.  These classic games engage your little one and get them interested in you!  In order for a baby to learn to imitate they need to first be able to watch you.  Watch how they respond to see which silly faces they like the most.

When your baby starts to make little coos and sounds try to imitate them.  Your baby will find this interesting and may even try to have a mini conversation with you.  Go along with it and see what silly sounds you both can make.

READ

Reading is one of the most powerful ways to work on language development with you little one.  Start with soft squishy books with simple pictures (like these).  Label the pictures for your baby and let them explore the book with their hands.  Comment when they vocalize at the pictures to let them know you hear them.


Learn about what language skills to expect in your baby here.  If you are thinking about teaching your baby a second language now is the time to start!  Click HERE to find out how to get started!

HOW you can ENCOURAGE COGNITIVE SKILLS:

 

Talking

Simply talking to your little one from birth is one of the best ways to start working on cognitive skills.  Connect with your sweetie by telling them all that is going on in the world around them.  Narrate your day by telling them about what you are making for dinner or about what you are going to wear that day.

The television does not provide your child with the same kind of input so do not count on it to teach your baby language.  Babies can not process the television like we do so it is not effective.  To learn more about the guidelines for television and young children click here.

Reading

You can read to your little one from day one!  Use a soft book to show them pictures and gently guide their hands to touch and feel it.  My husband would read adult books or magazines out loud to my son while he was holding him-this counts too!  Books can also be a great motivator while your baby is working on tummy time.

A perfect distraction to intrigue your little one and introduce them to the world of books.  A great way to start a bedtime or nap routine is to add a book in from the very beginning as it will become a perfect way to grow their early literacy skills right away.

Singing and Music

It may be natural for you to sing to your little one as they drift off to sleep and it happens to be a great way for your little one to learn too ( read more about the benefits of singing here).  You can also sing to your baby during diaper changes or while in the car.  Introducing your baby to gentle music is also a great way for them to hear some new interesting sounds.  This wonderful social activity can also help soothe your baby when they need some extra comfort.

To Learn more about what cognitive skills look like, click HERE.

HOW YOU CAN ENCOURAGE MOTOR SKILLS:

 

TUMMY TIME

Tummy time is essential for building and strengthening muscles throughout your baby’s body.  Make sure your child is awake when doing this and well supervised.  Lay your baby down on the floor or a play mat like this one.  Start with just a few minutes at a time to see how your baby tolerates it.  Watch their cues and if they are not a fan, just use shorter increments throughout the day. By doing tummy time consistently you are preparing your little one to roll over, crawl, and even walk someday!

You can entertain your little one by lying in front of them so they can see your face.  Take this opportunity to talk, sing, or read a book to your little one.  Unbreakable mirrors provide great entertainment for tummy time as well (this one would work well.)

VISUAL OPPORTUNITIES

Hold toys or interesting objects up for your baby to see.  Try different toys such as rattles (these were my son’s favorite) or balls to see which ones they like the best.

You may notice they even respond to different colors!  Hold the object about 8-12 inches away from your infants chest, as this is where they can see the best.  Move the object slowly across their line of vision to see if they follow it.

PLAY

Just playing with your baby will help them to develop and refine their motor skills.  Shake a small rattle in front of them and watch for their response.  Do their eyes widen?  Do their arms and legs stretch out in excitement?  Watch their responses to find out what they like and what they don’t.

Everything is new to a baby, so look around your environment and explore something new with them.  Gently place a rattle into their hands and let them grasp it, or let them grasp your finger!  During bath time let them try and grasp the wet washcloth as this is something new and interesting to them.  Enjoy this time with your little one and see the world through their eyes!

For more information about common motor milestones for 0-3 months, click HERE.

HOW You can ENCOURAGE SELF HELP SKILLS:

 

WATCH CUES

Get to know your little one by snuggling them close and watching for their cues.  Babies will tell you what they need, but we have to pay attention so that you can meet their needs appropriately.  Are they rubbing their eyes?  This may mean that they are ready for a nap or some rest.  Do you see smiles or hear cooing?  This means your baby is enjoying something or someone nearby.  Listen closely to their different cries to hear what they are telling you.  Watch how they respond to what is going on their environment so that you can help them feel comfortable and safe.

ENCOURAGE

Encourage safe sleep habits by always laying your baby down on their back to sleep.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies should sleep in the same room as their parents but on a separate sleep surface such as a crib or a bassinet for the first 6 months.

Need more information about the latest sleep recommendations and strategies for infants? Zero to Three provides these here!

You can encourage your little one to start exploring their hands by gently giving bringing them up near their mouth or face.  If you feel resistance, then stop.  They may need a little more time to figure it out how to find their own hands.

SNUGGLE

You can not spoil a baby that is this young!  They need to know that you are there to protect them and help them meet their needs.  Cuddling with your little one is one of the best ways for parents and babies to bond.  It also allows you lots of time to observe them so that you will start to notice their cues.

Click HERE for more information about what self help skills looks like from 0-3 months.

HOW YOU CAN ENCOURAGE SOCIAL SKILLS:

 

FACE TO FACE TIME

Spend lots of time looking at your little one…and letting them look at you!  Our faces are what we use to communicate emotions so let your baby watch you so they can learn.  Smile at them to make them feel safe. You can even try making some silly faces, like sticking out your tongue.  Wait a few seconds so you can see their reaction before moving to another expression.  Watch your baby’s cues and if they start to get fussy or seem overstimulated give them a break from the interaction.

SOCIAL GAMES

Make silly faces, blow raspberries and play peek-a-boo with your baby.  These classic games engage your little one and get them interested in you!  In order for a baby to learn to imitate they need to first be able to watch you.  Watch how they respond to see which silly faces they like the most.

When your baby starts to make little coos and sounds try to imitate them.  Your baby will find this interesting and may even try to have a mini conversation with you.  Go along with it and see what silly sounds you both can make.

TALKING

One of the best ways to get your baby to look at you is by talking to them.  By talking to them you are modeling one of the biggest social skills they will need to learn.  You can introduce your baby to many words by narrating your day.

Talk about what you are going to make for dinner or talk about a what you see while driving in the car.  If you speak multiple languages feel free to speak both to them while they are babies.  This will allow them to learn both, instead of having to teach them desperately later on in life.  There are many benefits for children that grow up bilingual!

SINGING

Singing is a great for babies for so many reasons!  If your baby is upset, singing to them may be comforting and will help soothe them.  It is also a great way to draw attention to you and distract your little one during a diaper change. Singing is a great social activity that is easy to take part in with your little one in almost any situation.  Make up your own songs or sing one of your childhood favorites to encourage your little one’s development.

HOLD THEM

Give your baby lots of snuggles and cuddles so that they feel safe and loved.  YOU CAN NOT SPOIL A BABY BY HOLDING THEM TOO MUCH WHEN THEY ARE THIS YOUNG, SO IGNORE IT IF SOMEONE SAYS THAT TO YOU.

Take care of yourself, because if you are stressed out your baby can sense this and they won’t be relaxed.  Being a new mom can be overwhelming at times, so ask for help when you need it and let someone else hold your baby (I am sure they won’t mind).

To learn more about what social skill milestones to expect from 0-3 months, click HERE.

If you found this post helpful then be sure to  to come join our Facebook Group Mindful Parenting for Babies and Toddlers!  We have great discussions on gentle parenting and are looking to build a community of support for parents!

Make sure to sign up for the FREE 5 Day Baby Milestone Boot Camp Email Course in the form below!

 

Related Posts You Will Enjoy:

One Minute Milestones Activity Cards

Complete Guide to Cognitive Development: 0-6 Months

7 Essential Toys to Encourage Development 0-6 Months

Baby Resource Guide

 

About Kayla ONeill

This is me and my beautiful bouncing baby boy! Before my little guy arrived I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education Birth to 21 as well as my Masters in Education. For six years I worked as an Early Interventionist serving children and families from birth to age three before becoming a stay at home mom to be with my son.

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