The older your baby gets, the more effort is required on your part to keep him entertained. At 6 months, he's actively ready to learn and needs your help to discover what he can better touch, hear, taste, and see. Frequently changing his position-from back to tummy, floor to highchair-provides new opportunities for him to develop large motor skills that will help him eventually to crawl, walk, and run.
Small motor skills-dexterity in the fingers and hands-improve when you provide your baby with the opportunity to touch and manipulate things. Activity boards and toys like balls and blocks will help, but so does playing some of the traditional hand and finger games you probably remember from childhood. Here's a rundown of some old favorites-which not only help your baby physically but also offer you both some extra opportunity to bond:
- This little piggy. Beginning with the big toe, take your baby's tootsies between your thumb and forefinger and chant: "This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home, this little piggy had roast beef, and..." By the little toe, your baby should be squealing with laughter!
- Pop goes the weasel. Sing the rhyme: "All around the cobbler's bench, the monkey chased the weasel. The monkey thought it was all in fun....Pop goes the weasel!" Lift your baby up when you get to the word pop. After just a few rounds, he will probably learn to "pop" up all by himself.
- Peekaboo. Position your baby on her back facing you, and conceal your face using her feet. Then open her legs wide and exclaim, "Peekaboo! I see you!" Your little one will want you to do it again and again.
- Pat-a-cake. Clap your palms together as you chant the rhyme "Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man. Bake me a cake as fast as you can." Then lightly smack the palms of your little one's hands in a "high-five" gesture, and watch how happily she responds to you.
Tools For Learning
For many infants, the dawning realization that they are separate from their parents is both exciting and scary. A comfort object, such as a soft stuffed animal or a favorite blanket, can smooth your baby's transition to independence. If she hasn't developed an attachment to such an object yet, try offering her something you think she might like, such as a teddy bear. And make sure it's available to her before separations-such as when you're bringing her to the sitter's or to the daycare center.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.