At six months, your child will be growing rapidly. While you will see the baby girl or boy clothes beginning to shrink fast, you will also witness several strong infant growths and development milestones. About halfway through their first year, they may begin to recognize familiar faces, string vowels together while babbling, and start to sit without support from a hand or chair. To help your baby to thrive, there are several activities that you can engage in with them as you go about your day. Work on these activities regularly, and you will see them growing and learning rapidly, right before your eyes.
Let Your Baby Explore
When your six-month-old takes the time to explore the sights and sounds around them, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they develop their essential learning, thinking, and problem-solving skills. Thankfully, busy new parents do not have to travel far to help their babies build their cognitive abilities. All it takes are a few simple activities.
Try placing your infant on a blanket in the backyard or the grass at the park. Watch them as they sit and observe the birds, the wind, or the swaying of the trees. Dressing them in an easy and comfortable outfit like Onesies® Brand Bodysuits can help to make outdoor play more safe and convenient, especially in warmer weather. Add protection items like a hat and infant sunglasses when it starts to get sunny.
Indoors, your baby can explore their rattles, stuffed animals, and soft books. Place fun and colorful toys just out of reach to encourage your little one to stretch and grasp for them. It may even help them learn how to roll over in both directions and master standing while bouncing. Other ideas for exploration include having them hold items of different textures, seeing new places, and meeting their family members. Each adventure will help them achieve new milestones in movement, physical development, and social skills.
Play Interactive Games
It is no secret: Six-month-old babies love playing “peek-a-boo.” This fun and interactive game is also an excellent choice for developing social and emotional skills. Place your hands over your face and then remove them. Do it a few times in a row to show your little one that you will always come back when you go away. They will soon learn the pattern, find it interesting, and begin to try it themselves.
When it is bath time, remove their baby boy or baby girl clothes and let them pour water out of cups or splash while you laugh together. When they pick up a toy, ask them if you can have it. Give it back, and then ask for it again. Infants also enjoy copying their parents. Bang on a small drum or clap your hands together to see if the baby will join in the excitement. These types of activities help to develop language and communication skills while fostering learning and problem-solving.
Listen to Some Music
By listening to music with your six-month-old, you help them to strengthen their thinking and emotional skills. They will also learn new numbers, words, and letters over time. It does not matter whether the songs are instrumental or have words in them. You can play classical music in the car or enjoy soft rock while putting on their clothes and getting ready for the day. The different genres of music expose your baby to new sounds and forms of creativity.
You can also reap the benefits of music for a baby when you make musical instruments at home. One of the easiest ways is to reuse plastic bottles or containers. Place rice or seeds in them, close them tightly, and shake them around to make different sounds. Make sticks for a cardboard box drum with chopsticks or wooden spoons.
Read to Your Baby
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most children learn to read between four to seven years. However, it is always helpful for parents to get a head start as early as possible before they begin school. Reading to your baby helps them to gain critical language, communication, and thinking skills. It is also an excellent way to bond with your infant before taking a nap or going to bed.
Pediatricians at the Cleveland Clinic recommend reading to your baby daily, even if it is only for a few minutes. It is okay if your little one decides to explore the book by chewing on it or wants to roam around while you are reading. Some six-month-old babies will prefer to actively discover their world while they are listening to their favorite stories. It does not matter how storytime looks at this age. As long as your child is engaging in activities, you are doing it perfectly.
Reaching Baby’s Milestones in Development
Nothing is more exciting in a baby’s first year than watching them hit their developmental milestones and learn new things. While you engage in activities that foster their physical, mental, and emotional development, be sure to make your baby’s doctor appointments and well visits. Talking with a physician will help you determine whether they are keeping up with other kids their age and doing well for their unique goals and needs.
Other tips include praising your baby when they learn new things and distracting them with a safe option when they touch unsafe items. A combination of your healthcare provider’s watchful eye and your daily love and attention will help your baby develop during infancy and toddler years. This careful, attentive approach to development will help them for a lifetime.