How Baby's Hand Skills Develop

Baby's little fingers have lots of skills to master -- reaching is one of the first.

1 to 4 Months

Baby Crawling Across Track Looking Up

When it comes to your baby, every new accomplishment is exciting to watch. While big motor milestones, such as rolling, crawling, and walking, are the obvious ones, small motor skills, like reaching, grabbing, and pointing, are just as developmentally important.

Learning and practicing these skills will improve baby's hand-eye coordination and teach her cause and effect. In her first year, baby will also improve her manual dexterity as she gains more control and strength in her tiny fingers. These new skills are sure to make playtime even more fun! Now she'll be able to manipulate toys by lifting, tossing, and dropping.

With her newly developed abilities, baby will learn how to feed herself and even hold a crayon. Watch how baby grows more independent and increasingly confident as she masters the following small motor skills.

1 to 2 Months

At birth, your baby's hands are clenched. Even if you try to uncurl her fingers by pressing on her palm, they'll curl back into tight fists -- it's a reflex she's born with.

At around 3 months, she will begin to open her hands on her own and slowly gain control over her movements. She may begin to lift objects -- including her thumb -- to her mouth. You should notice baby's increased hand-eye coordination as she discovers that her hands are part of her body.

3 to 4 Months

By now baby has developed enough muscle coordination to get a grip on small objects placed in front of him. He will love reaching for toys and raking them toward him. As baby's vision improves and he is able to follow moving objects, he'll enjoy playfully batting at them. Hanging a mobile over your little one's crib will inspire him to swat at the dangling toys. (Be sure to remove the mobile when he is able to actually grab it!)

Some babies will also discover other parts of their body, such as those tiny toes, that will eventually find their way into baby's mouth.

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