On the Move | Emma's Diary India

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On the move

On the Move
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From rolling and crawing to sitting up and toddling

All babies go through the same stages of mobility – starting at their head and working down to their feet – but how fast they progress from one stage to the next can vary considerably.

Here we look at things you can do to encourage your child's development.

As your newborn 'uncurls' from the foetal position she will stretch out her body and her muscles will begin to strengthen.

At first she will have no control over her head, but as her neck muscles become stronger she will start to lift her head and be able to hold it up for a few seconds at a time.

You can help to encourage this by giving her short periods of time on her tummy.

By three months she will probably be holding her head up quite steadily.

Rolling around

Once your baby can control her head she will begin to move her body - first from side to side and then from back to front, or front to back.

At first these movements are accidental, but your baby will soon realise that they allow her a different view of the world and she will practise them over and over again until she's able to control them.

Getting ready to crawl

By the time she's four or five months old your baby will be able to lift her head, shoulders, arms and legs off the floor when you put her down on her front. These new movements are the early stages of crawling.

Although she won't be going anywhere yet, she'll keep practising until she is able to move herself, either forwards or backwards, probably at around seven or eight months. By the end of her first year she'll probably be on her feet, 'cruising' round the furniture.

Once she can stand it won't be long before she begins to walk unaided.

Sitting up

This requires a different set of movements and it'll probably be around eight months before your baby can sit unaided and can reach out for things.

Before this, once she has neck control, you can prop her up surrounded by cushions. This way, if she topples over she doesn't hurt herself.

Developing other senses

Your baby needs plenty of sensory experiences, such as touch and sound, in order to develop her senses.

Playing sound-tracking games, using rattles and toys that make a noise, will help her to learn how to locate different sounds. 'Feely' toys that your baby can press, stroke and crinkle, as well as those with different textured surfaces, will help her find out about touch.

During these early months your baby will also begin to develop hand-eye co-ordination and manipulative skills.

She will be attracted to bright primary colours and the sharp contrast of black and white patterns. A mobile hung over the cot, a baby gym with toys hanging from the bars that she can reach out for and a safety mirror placed where she can see herself, will give hours of entertainment.

Choosing toys

Any toys your baby has should always be appropriate to her age. Toys for older children will be too complicated and may have small parts which could be dangerous to a young baby, while toys that are too young will quickly become boring.

Libraries often have toys that can be borrowed, but do sterilise anything that may end up in your baby's mouth.

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