Daily Developmental Exercises for Infants
You can help your little one sprout in ways you will be proud.
Bean turned four months yesterday and she is right on track with her chatter, smiles, and roll overs. It seems like just yesterday she was a bundled little thing with no expression or eyesight beyond her little button nose. But here we are rolling over, chatting, and more in love than ever. And though I have a genius on my hands, lol (said her mom, haha) the little things that we do on a daily basis surely help her progress in to a smart little baby. Here are the exercises that we carry out on a daily:
- Talk with your baby. Use real words by having a conversation with her about your day, how you’re feeling, your wishes and hopes for your life together, or even read from your favorite book or magazine. No matter how you choose to communicate your little ones brain will be stimulated beyond baby talk that most people will use to converse with your little one.
- Play the mimic game. Solidify sounds that she makes by repeating them back to her which makes it a pretty fun game for her too. See her face light up when you say “Apoowa!” back at her! She looks, listens, pauses and cracks up at my attentive repetitions. And when she smiles my world smiles with her.
- Make faces. We gaze into each others eyes for, what seems like, hours. I like to take this opportunity to make silly faces at her as she studies my expressions in astonishment. It’s so heartwarming to see this little angel have such an interest in my face. I know, I know it’s not just my face but I like to think it is, lol.
- Entourage your babe to roll over. Start by simply rolling her over yourself. I did this for a few weeks every once in a while back and fourth. A short time later I noticed that she started to try’n do it herself with lots of grunting and growling. I helped her effort by giving her a slight push here and there. With a few repetitions she’s now able to do it all on her own… in one direction anyway. We are working on having her roll from belly to back.
- Next, is sitting practice. Now that she has mastered the roll over she is onto bigger things. Watching her one morning sitting reclined against my pillows I see her grunting (yep, she’s a grunter) and trying to pull herself up. She looked like she’s trying to do abdominal crunches. Ah, she’s growing up so fast and wanting to sit up. As of this posts date, we are working on this still. I have her grab onto my fingers and lift herself up into a sitting position. With a little effort I attempt to balance her and let go. She stays put for, oh, a second before she falls backwards onto the pillows and cracks up with laughter. I don’t know who is having more fun, me or her.
- Sensory sensations go a long way. To keep things interesting we play with having her feel lots of textures on her belly, legs, and hands. She loves to explore all these new things and her eyes are full of concentration and awe. There are endless things to experiment with. Here are a few that we tried so far:
- cotton balls
- various types of fabrics (cotton, suede, denim, etc…)
- crinkly paper (she LOVES this one)
- water in a bowl
- ice cubes (just a quick touch)
- plastic parts of her toys
- Taking air baths is something that she enjoys in the late afternoon as the sun makes it’s way to our windows warming up the room. By total surprise we discovered her favoritism towards air blown through a straw onto her belly, arms, and legs. She lays quietly soaking up the sensation that has her so engaged.
- Hand puppet plays. Tiny babies have no interest in toys, that’s a given. This doesn’t mean that they can’t be entertained by other simple things like your hands. As she lay on her back, I hold my hand above her head opening and closing my fingers ever so slowly to mimic the movement of a jellyfish. I move it slowly from left to right, up and down, back and fourth. She is so enthralled by this that she keeps her attention on it more than any toy we have, at least for the moment. This helps her move her head up and down, left and right as well as her eye coordination.
- Toys and not so much. Okay, so toys have yet to grab her attention but it didn’t deter me from physically opening her tiny hand and placing a toy for her to curl her fingers around. At first she hadn’t had the slightest idea (or interest) in what was happening. But a few weeks later and I see her looking down at her hand holding a toy with astonishment. The easiest thing for her to (and equal in interest) was a burp cloth that was really easy to hold onto. She now grasps items with both hands and bringing them up to her mouth! That’s the next stage of brain development. How amazing is this to watch! I can’t get over it.
- Tickle reactions. From day one her little feet were stimulated by touch. They reacted by retracting at the tickling sensation. Now, the response only grew stronger and accompanied by a smirk.
- Listen to all kinds of music. Recent studies have discovered that it’s not just classical music that enriches the little brains but just music in general. That’s good news for all of you out there that aren’t’ fans of Bach. If you favor jazz or country, by all means, play to your hearts content. I like to switch it up to keep things interesting. Our play list includes classical, jazz, blues, pop, Disney movie soundtracks, and so on. Though you should probably skip the hardcore hip-hop and metal. Check out our favorite bedtime lullaby’s on Pandora.
- Give a rubdown. We all know the benefits of massage. Number one benefit being that it feels great! But there are so many other benefits you baby will take away from a daily massage as Bean does in her nightly routine. Here are a few now:
- blood circulation
- weight gain for preemies
- bond between parent and child
- releasing trapped gas
- decreasing stress related hormones
- Let them tackle tummy time. Okay, truth? Bean HATED tummy time. The second I put her down on her belly she seemed to give up putting her head down face first and crying with vicious fury. A few times we tried this with the same result. Well, I am not one to torture my babe so we opted in for other options made specifically for tummy time haters. We let a few weeks go by and tried again. To my surprise she was not as upset by this once she got a little older. Her head was erect, her eyes bright and curious looking around at a whole new perspective and no tears in sight (at least not for a few minutes until she got bored). Now it’s a part of our daily routine, though I’m scared she’ll just up and crawl away any day now.
Beans Developmental Accomplishments, 4 Months
- babbling and cooing
- well developed eye sight
- responsive hearing
- smiling and laughing
- doing tummy time like a champ
- standing firmly on her two little legs (she did this since birth)
- aware of her hands and feet, clasping them together, bringing them to her mouth
Playing these games are a sure way to help your baby develop both mentally and physically. If you have any other fun ways to stimulate your baby, please share them in the comments below!
Together, they explore the topics of gentle parenting, healthy eating, grateful thinking, yoga bending, nifty hacking, green living, soul searching, and mindfulness practicing.
She has lived many lives. She has seen great beauty and utter darkness. It makes her whole. She is strong and with your presence, support, and love right here, right now ever stronger!!!
Read more about her by visiting the Meet the Bee page or email her right now!
We hope you enjoy the adventures of Chewy & Bossy!