Teach your baby how to eat food with the help of these tips.
- Introduce a sippy cup: As soon as your baby can grasp objects with both hands, try using a sippy cup.
- Eat the food yourself: When your baby is exploring an unfamiliar food, take a bite of the food yourself and show how much you enjoy it.
- Start a handwashing ritual: Wash your hands, and your baby's along with them to start a healthy habit.
- Encourage imitation: Put a spoon or fork in your baby's hand and encourage him to copy you.
- Buy unbreakable items: Put your baby's food on a special plate that can be dropped and played with.
- Let your baby try solids as early as you think she's ready: Your child may be ready for solids earlier than 6 months.
- Use baby utensils: Give your child forks and spoons made especially for toddler hands.
- Keep feeding times short: Don't overwhelm your baby with lots of food on her plate.
- Let your child choose his own food: Place food pieces on his plate, and let him pick and choose.
- Be patient: Understand that finishing a meal will take longer when your child is feeding herself.
- Avoid pressure: Don't force feed food or you could create unhealthy attitudes about eating.
- Spear the food first: Help your child use a fork by spearing food for him first.
- Be ready for a mess: Your child will definitely be making a mess-stock up on plastic mats and large bibs.
- Don't be surprised by erratic feeding: Your baby may eat solids frequently, or skip them for a while.
Reading & Language
These tips will help you develop an early love of reading, language, and understanding.
- Read to your baby from birth: Pick out a picture book and talk about the pictures.
- Show that books are important: Make your child excited about books by reading to him frequently.
- Use flash cards: Flash words for about 30 seconds, and put them away several times each day.
- Move quickly: Show flash cards for a word about 15 times and then move on, but be sure to review.
- Start early: Start introducing words and letters as soon as your baby can interact with you.
- Speak in "parentese": Use a higher-pitched, friendly, and exaggerated tone of voice to make your words longer and clearer than normal adult speech.
- Use props and posters: Teach your child letters by repeatedly showing your child items with that letter.
- Describe your baby's senses: Talk about what your baby is looking at, touching, smelling, and listening to.
- Listen to music: Sing and dance along to music for fun and learning.
- Use many of the same words over and over: Help your baby in the "fast mapping" stage by using the same words frequently.
- Make your speech sow and distinct: Have talks with your little one, and emphasize important words by moving your mouth and tongue slowly and distinctly.
- Ask questions: Younger babies can answer questions by looking.
- Talk to your baby: Speak clearly and look at your baby while you speak, and tell him what you're doing as you are doing it.
- Repeat speech patterns back: When your baby vocalizes, repeat it back to them, even babbling, to show you heard what they said and understand.
- Praise their accomplishments: Smile and talk joyfully when your baby makes progress in speech.
Use these tips to make playtime learning time.
- Make your child aware of toys: Make sure your baby can see a toy if you want him to play with it.
- Encourage independent play: Leave your child alone with some of her favorite toys for a short period of time, and peek in periodically to give a sense of security.
- Describe toys: Describe toys when you introduce your baby to them.
- Get creative with toys: Pot covers can be just as fun as store bought toys.
- Practice imitation: Show your baby how to play with yours, and encourage her to imitate what you're doing.
- Use a confined space: If you're baby can't sit on his own yet, line a laundry basket with a towel or blanket and put some toys in it.
These tips will help you develop your baby's motor skills.
- Place your baby stomach down on the floor: Use tummy time to encourage head control development.
- Use puzzles: Get your baby started with jigsaw puzzles.
- Play hide and seek: Peek a boo and other hide and seek games can teach your baby motor skills and hand movements.
- Dangle eye-catching objects over your baby: Give your baby the opportunity to swipe at objects above him.
- Get baby-sized Lego blocks: Teach your baby to fit pieces together with the help of large Lego blocks.
- Use blocks: Play a game of blocks to learn about stacking, arranging, letters, spelling, and colors.
- Place toys within reach: Let your baby grasp at toys while laying on the floor.
- Play with peg and hole toys: These toys can teach shapes, hand/eye coordination, and motor skills.
- Hide and seek: Letting items disappear and reappear in your hand will show your baby that our of sight things can still exist.
- Give your baby lots of space: Encourage rolling over by giving your baby plenty of space to practice.
- Play ball: Sit on the floor and roll your ball back and forth between you.
: Put a mirror or large picture in front of your baby to get her to look up.
Teach your baby colors with the help of these tips.
- Play catch with different colored balls: As you roll or throw balls to your infant, call out the colors of the balls you're using.
- Stick to one color each week: Pick a color and introduce it to your baby for a whole week.
- Watch cars: Watch cars go by and say the color each time.
- Use cloths in different colors: Teach colors and words with plain color cloths.
- Call out colors in picture books: When you're reading picture books, say the color of the things you see.
- Gather objects of one color: Put items of all one color in a shoe box and show your baby those items.
- Say the color of grocery items: At the grocery store hold items in front of your baby and say the color.
Take these tips, and encourage your baby to walk.
- Don't push your child to walk too early: Your baby's legs may not be ready to support her, so don't push your baby too early.
- Be sure the floor is not slippery: Your baby may find it difficult to balance on a slippery floor.
- Babyproof: Before teaching your baby to walk, check out your home for sharp corners, ledges, and stairs.
- Make sure there's furniture for support: Be sure that your child has furniture to hold onto for support.
- Line chairs against a wall: Put a toy at the end of a line of chairs to encourage your baby to hold onto chairs and reach a toy.
- Stay close: Your child will probably only walk one or two steps before looking for support, so be close.
- Pull your baby up into a standing position: When your baby starts crawling, pull her up to the next step of standing.
- Blow bubbles: Give your child something fun to chase by gently blowing bubbles.
- Hold hands: Hold your baby's hand as it learns balance.
- Avoid shoes inside: Have your child go barefoot to improve balance and coordination.
- Position elbows: Gently draw elbows towards your baby's body to encourage crawling.
- Give them support: When your child starts to stand on their own, give them support until they are ready to go on their own.
- Put new toys in slightly high places: Motivate a curious baby with toys in places that are out of reach unless standing.
- Stand or kneel with your hands out: Get in front of your child and encourage him to walk to wards you.
- Scoot down the stairs: Teach your baby to scoot down the stairs by showing her how to go feet first.
- Use a hula hoop: Hold a hula hook and guide your baby to step or crawl through it.
- Avoid using a walker: Walkers can be dangerous and cause injuries.
- Use toys that teach pushing and pulling: Give your child toys for pushing and pulling, which encourages walking.
- Encourage exercise: Help your baby develop coordination and balance with physical games and toys.
- Show your baby how to bend knees: Teach your baby how to bend its knees so your baby can sit down without toppling over.
These tips help teach the all-important concept of sharing.
- Offer a bite of your meal: Give your child a bite of your meal and explain that you're sharing.
- Let your child hide his favorites: Before friends come over, allow your child to pick a few of his most favorite toys that he doesn't have to share.
- Explain sharing goes two ways: Tell your baby that sharing means you can play with other babies' toys too, if you share yours as well.
- Take unshared toys away: If your baby won't share a toy, take it away-no one will play with it.
- Let kids teach your child: Your baby's friends will let him know how unhappy they are that she's not sharing.
- Teach bartering: Start a trade process to exchange toys.
- Reinforce "proto-sharing": Even if your child just shows an object without letting go, praise this big step towards sharing.
- Thank your child for sharing: Encourage good behavior by thanking your child when he shares.
- Say thank you: When your child gives something to you, smile and say thank you, then give it back to her.
- Suggest handing toys over: Suggest to your child that he should pass his toy to a friend.
Explore sign language with your baby using these tips.
- Add new signs quickly: Add new signs, especially visible items.
- Use repetition: Use signs and the word together a few times in a row to reinforce it.
- Make use of picture books: Point out items in picture books while signing.
- Use flash cards: Make flash cards with a sign on one side and the word on the other side.
- Make sign language a part of play: Use playtime to "pretend" emotions and share their signs.
- Make a commitment: Make a firm commitment to stick with sign language so you don't stop if results don't happen immediately.
- Use every opportunity to model signs: When your baby wants to get our of the high chair, do the "out" sign, or use the "up" sign when your baby wants to be picked up.
- Believe in it: Believe in what you are doing, and don't give credit to naysayers.
- Help your baby model the signs: Take your baby's hands and guide them to do the sign.
- Start with essentials: Start out by teaching your baby essential signs like Mommy, Daddy, milk, and eat.
- Use signs in everyday life: Make signs a part of everyday interaction with your baby.
You can teach your baby to swim using these ideas.
- Make sure your baby can grasp the wall: Give your baby the security of knowing the wall is there, and can be used for safety.
- Don't use floaties: Floaties provide a false sense of security and can encourage a counterproductive upright position in the water.
- Start slowly: Get started by just getting a little pool water on your baby.
- Show her how to kick her legs: Pull your baby through the water while moving her legs in a kicking motion and verbally telling her to kick.
- Keep lessons short: Control for the natural fatigue with short, frequent lessons.