Your little one is out of the newborn stage and is now starting to show bigger movements. They are becoming more aware of their surroundings and wanting to interact with the world around them. The skills needed to touch and explore their world are motor skills.
In this post I will give you information about what motor skills look like and how to encourage motor skills in babies from 3 to 6 months.
All children develop differently so know that if your baby is not doing the exact same things as your best friend’s, that is ok. However, if you are concerned about your little one’s development always seek out the Early Intervention program in your area for a free screening or evaluation.
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3-6 MONTHS motor SKILLS INCLUDE:
Holding Head Up
Your baby’s neck muscles are getting stronger everyday! You may notice that your baby is starting to lift their head while doing tummy time for short spurts of time. The increase in neck strength will also allow your baby to hold up their head in a supported sitting position.
I still remembered the day my son rolled over…such an exciting milestone! Your little one will most likely roll from tummy to back first and it could happen anytime now. Back to tummy rolling usually comes a bit later, however all babies are different.
Remember when your baby was first born and always kept those little hands balled up into fists? Now your baby’s hands are starting to be more in an open position…ready to grab! You may notice too that your baby is able to grasp small toys (or your hair!)
HOW CAN I ENCOURAGE Motor SKILLS?
Playing is the best way to motivate and encourage your baby to get moving! Rattles (these are my favorite) are a great simple toy to use at this age to encourage fine motor skills. They fit snug into your baby’s hand and are motivating to move because they make an interesting sounds.
Baby gyms at this age are great because they give your baby something to reach and bat at. This is the one we had and we loved it because all of the toys were removable which allowed my son to play with it even longer. He loved to look and feel the toys during a diaper change or just while playing on the floor. Baby gyms are great for visual skills because the brightly colored objects are fun to look at and follow with their eyes.
Always make sure the floor is picked up and cleared of small objects as babies will pick up things and put them in their mouths. Check out this post on baby proofing if you need some help with that! Baby’s learn a lot from mouthing objects so giving them some safe ones (like these) are a great way for them to learn and sooth sore gums as their teeth start to come in.
If you need more ideas on what toys work well for babies check out this post about 7 essential toys that help encourage development.
Tummy time is still VERY important at this age. Doing tummy time on the floor or play mat (this one would work well) allows your baby to strengthen the muscles needed for rolling, crawling, and WALKING! Always supervise your baby while they are on their tummy for play time.
Watch your baby’s cues during tummy time. If they do not like it then try to do it in shorter amounts of time more frequently throughout the day. Get down on the floor with them and play to help distract and encourage them. Using a simple unbreakable mirror (like this one) also works well to entertain your little one during tummy time.
Reading is not only great at encouraging cognitive and language skills at this age, but also motor. When looking at books with your baby show them how to pat and point out pictures. This is a great way to encourage early literacy skills. Soft and squishy books (like these) work best for this age as your baby will enjoy feeling and exploring the different textures. Your baby will more than likely explore the books using their mouths so being able to through them in the laundry makes it a toy that is easy to clean as well.
If you are looking for more ways to encourage your baby’s development check out One Minute Milestones.
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Keep Track of Milestones
An easy way to be PREPARED for you next well baby visit is to download the PDF below! It is FREE and PRINTABLE. I know you have a lot going on with a new baby (I have been there too!) so print this off so you can EASILY keep track of all the exciting milestones your baby is doing! This includes milestones to look for from birth to 12 months.