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Play to develop your baby's physical health

Posted on August 11 2016

The Rio Olympics are in full swing and watching different athletes and sportspeople do what they love most is a great pleasure to watch. Encouraging physical activity and exercises are as important as exercising a child’s brain. One’s mental health and physical health are often inter-related. Fostering good physical health and encouraging your child to find a physical activity he/she likes is very important.

Here is a list of activities you can do with your child to encourage physical development. This article aims for activities for babies ranging from 0-1 years old. 

0-3 months

The first three months your baby will spend most time sleeping and eating. But you can engage in these simple activities.

1. Hug and kiss

Cuddling with your little bundle of joy feels great not only to you but also for your baby. You can see that she/he smiles and moves when you approach to cuddle, hug, kiss or tickle her/him. This often the first way a child learns to move in response to you.

2. Bath time

A warm bath is very relaxing for baby. If you have a tub, you can encourage splashing and kicking. Toys in the bath are also a very good idea. Enrolling in a special baby swimming class is also a good idea. So, do look for experts in this area who can guide you appropriately in this area.

3. Massage

The age-old massage with sesame oil and coconut oil is very relaxing to the baby. Massaging strengthens the muscles and nervous systems of the baby. And oils penetrate into the skin of the baby which helps nourish it. The activity will be deeply relaxing for the baby and you can turn this into a fun activity.

4. Musical toys

Rattles are not famous for nothing. The beautiful music and sounds help your child head, ears, and neck move helping those muscles grow. As your child grows older, they may reach out to hold the toy, encourage and play with them when this happens.

4-6 months

At four months you baby will start to have more hours of awake time and you can explore  new activities for your baby.

1. Rug/mat playtime

One of the first things you must invest in is a play mat or rug. Do not be afraid to put your child on the floor (for the fear of dust or her falling over). Children need wide spaces to learn to crawl, stand and take their steps. Restricting them in a crib, swing, car seat carrier, or bouncy seat. They may be fine for short rides around the city but do not let your baby be in them for too long as these restrict movement.

2. The ‘sit-up’ and look activity

This activity encourages your baby to develop core strength, track objects with eye movements and make arm movements. First, sit with your baby on your lap and facing forward like you. Ideally, you could this in sitting in front of a window, a park, or the beach. Now point to the different activities happening around you and talk to your baby about it. Like the birds flying, people playing and the like. You will notice your baby trying to sit upright, move their eyes towards the place or person you are pointing at and lots of little movements.

3. Clapping hands

Model hand clapping while singing a catchy tune. Show the infant how to clap hands by holding his hands. Model hand clapping again and let the infant watch you and imitate.

7-9 months

During this phase, you will start to see some more coordinated movements. Especially with reaching, grabbing, and transferring things from one hand to the other.

1. Yoga

Yoga is an excellent activity to do with your baby. Find books for baby yoga, we suggest Baby Om: Yoga for mothers and babies and Yoga Mom, Buddha baby: The yoga workout for new mums. Your baby would naturally crawl around you and be very interested in all the movements she sees.

2. The sorting game

One of the first toys you can invest in is the ‘shape sorter’. These are planks which have different shaped holes into which one has to fit a similar shared object (of course, she/he may need your help in getting the right object go in the correct gap). But this game helps visual memory and develop spatial intelligence.

                                           

                       Image attribute: fisher price.com

10-12 months

In this phase your baby will develop many essential motor skills like walking, running, climbing, rolling, throwing, and kicking.

1. Rolling the ball game

Sit with your baby in the play area or lie tummy down. Sit at a distance of a few feet, take a small ball with a bright colour. Roll it towards her and teach her to roll it back to you. She may crawl to get the ball and you could crawl and walk along with her to get the ball.

2. Stairs

Many parents are terrified of letting their child near the stairs. Once your baby has mastered standing up, hold your child’s hand and gently guide your child to walk a few steps above and below. Your baby is naturally equipped to understand space and depth. So, don’t worry and explore fun activities together.

What must you avoid?

-Don’t use walkers.

-Let your child walk barefoot around the house.

-Avoid toys with small parts, such as buttons that can be removed.

-Check fabric toys for tight seams; make sure stuffing cannot be pulled out.

-Avoid toys with strings or cords to prevent strangulation.