Improve physical development in your baby: When you first bring your newborn home, you think your baby cannot do anything except crying, sleeping and feeding. But you forget that at the same time your baby is growing as well. Physical development starts right after birth.
After birth, the most important thing is to establish eye contact with your baby(this happens somewhere around 2 months) in order to understand each other.
After a few days you start realizing that your baby can do much more than your expectations and with little effort and involvement you can make your baby the best.
If we want our children to be fit and healthy, we have to be involved in their activities.
- Physical development milestones
- Ways to improve physical development in your baby
- Note to Parents – A word of caution
Physical activities are very important for a baby’s development. However, this cannot be done without the help of parents. Children should engage in activities in a safe environment.
A baby needs an environment where he can stretch his body, play freely, crawl.and explore things without any hazard. To know how to keep your home safe for your baby, read our article 17 ways to effectively baby proof your House.
Your baby needs your help to accomplish amazing things. But how can you improve physical development in your baby when you do not understand his language and his pattern of growth?
So first let’s take a glimpse through the developmental milestones of a baby, before we get into the topic of improving physical development in our babies.
Know the Physical development milestones
Before supporting your child in his physical growth, you must know the age appropriate requirements that you need to fulfil and his growth pattern.
Physical needs of a child changes with age. Hence knowing the age appropriate intervention is important to improve physical development in your baby.
It is considered that humans can bring out the most talents before the age of one year.
In the field of education economics, there is research that learning is most cost-effective at the age of 0 years old.
Small babies need proper support and involvement of parents.
I MONTH BABY
Right after birth a baby loses up to 10% of birthweight. However it is important to notify your health care provider if baby has not regained birthweight by 2 weeks.
Your baby cannot differentiate between day and night and spends most of his time sleeping. He can recognize his mother’s voice and crying is the only way he communicates.
In the beginning it is difficult to follow his gestures but gradually they become more understandable.
2 MONTHS BABY
At this age baby starts minimal physical movements like moving his arms and legs. Thereby, his muscles start to develop.
He starts expressing himself by cooing “Ah” and “ooh”
Your baby starts moving his face and enjoying things.
He also listens attentively to sounds.
3 MONTHS BABY
Now your baby can move his limbs well. He starts kicking in the air vigorously with his legs and swims in the air using his hands
He can see things clearer than before.
Babies start sucking their fingers at this age or they play with their hands.
4 MONTHS BABY
At this age, the neck of a baby becomes more stable. He can raise his neck with his stomach.
His grip becomes firm.
He listens to sounds and responds to them.
He laughs and shows his happiness.
5 MONTHS BABY
He starts twisting his body and rolls over.
Sleep time decreases and wake time increases.
Feeding patters are also set by now.
He wants to grab things now and wants to play.
6 MONTHS BABY
His height increases by 1 cm per month. Usually partial weaning stars at this stage. We begin to give the baby semi solid foods.
Now at this age your baby can distinguish between day and night. Your baby will sleep longer at night waking up only for feeds.
He becomes very active and some children can even sit a while. Sometimes, Baby teeth also start growing at this age.
This time parents have to be extra cautious because the baby wants to grab everything and put it in his mouth.
7 MONTHS BABY
Now your baby is able to sit and his sleeping routine is also adjusted.
He becomes more curious and asks for whatever he wants.
Mothers can understand why a baby is crying since baby’s cry is different for hunger, sleepiness and discomfort.
8 MONTHS BABY
Now your baby can move on his own.
He can grasp things.
He has more curiosity and his behavior is exploratory.
Your baby will have more ways to express his feelings.
He can also read the facial expressions of the other person.
9 MONTHS BABY
Your baby wants to eat with his hands and take three meals a day and some snack in between.
His fingers are developed now and your baby can point out to whatever he wants.
10 MONTHS BABY
Now your baby stands With support and tries to take a few steps.
He becomes familiar with words and starts speaking his language gradually using intentional monosyllabic sounds.
11 MONTHS BABY
At this age, your baby wakes up and walks with support.
He understands what his elders say.
Your baby tries to link things with words.
He tries to make connections between words and actions.
12 MONTHS BABY
His diet has changed now. He enjoys all kinds of family food within restrictions.
He starts walking and running.
Speaking a lot of words.
Now your baby can remember things and can also see things more clearly.
His hands are now more dexterous.
He starts learning by imitation.
These are different stages of physical development of a child which are essential to understand before trying to improve your baby’s physical growth.
HOW-TO help to Improve physical development in your baby
If a child is given the opportunity to freely do his physical activities, it is very helpful for his growth.
You would have seen your baby kicking his legs and moving his hands even when your baby was just weeks old. You don’t see adults doing such things. Why?
Its nature’s way of getting your baby to exercise when your baby is a baby. So that your baby can grow physically strong.
There are a number of activities in which you can be engaged with your baby for his physical development.
A baby who is too young to walk, needs some physical activity too!
Sounds Strange! But it is a reality. Your baby cannot walk but your baby wants to stretch his body.
So, Put a clean blanket on the floor with some toys. Lay your baby on that blanket. Your baby will freely stretch his body and will try to reach out a toy.
This will help in developing his gross motor skills when your baby moves his muscles. This will also help your baby in his upcoming milestones like crawling, rolling and lifting his head.
I was told and I have practiced (the science behind is not known) putting the baby on a coir mat for some time. The old wives’ wisdom is that it will help in shaping your baby’s head. I have followed it but I can’t definitively say if my kids head shape had an impact or not. Just sharing a practice.
2- Simulate your baby.
Teach your baby how to clap and play with his hands. Sing with your baby. Baby talk with your baby.
If you are wondering how to talk to your baby you will get more insights from our article How- To TALK to your baby ~ Baby Talk.
When you pay attention to your baby and engage with your baby, your baby will enthusiastically engage back with you by vigorously moving his hands and legs.
All these movement helps in encouraging his body movements.
3- Encourage baby to walk and Grab
When your baby starts walking, encourage your baby to walk and grab things. Play simple games like you having her teddy bear and waving it to her so she comes and get it.
Take your baby out for a walk. Walk with your baby holding his hand when your baby learns to walk. Taking your kid outside will also help your baby reap all the benefits of sunlight. Read and know for yourself our article 20 Astonishing benefits of sunlight for kids.
Encourage your child to take a walk around the house and squat down to pick up objects from the floor.
4- Introduce your baby to different games and toys
Place your child’s favorite toy at the end of the room and place a few obstacles along the way your baby needs to go through, to get to his toy.
My son hated it when I placed obstacles. Your baby would kick them or get on all fours and crawl. Anyways, it is still exercise. These games will help to improve physical development in your baby
Also use push and pull toys. They are quite a hit with kids, and babies like to move around with them.
5- Do not Care about space
Do not care about space. Just walk, run, play and have fun with your little star.
A trip to a playground, if you are in a very tiny space will help. Let your baby walk with no agenda and play.
Help your baby in a slide or play see- saw with your baby. Your baby will look forward to playground time.
6- Have a scheduled physical activity time
Make it a routine to be physically active with your baby every day. Stretch his arms and legs. Do it as if your baby is doing an exercise.
When your baby grows to a stage of walking. You lead, by showing simple exercises and ask your baby to mimic it.
At this time, your baby still tends to be unstable while walking, so naturally, he often falls. That is ok.
The idea is for your baby to move his hands and legs enough to exercise them well and improve his physical development.
7- Help your baby explore new things.
Put his hand on different surfaces so your baby can understand cold, hot, hard and soft. Make sure to be safe when you do this. Be careful so that your baby does not get burnt or have a frost bite. Introduce your baby to everything at home.
This will help your baby to pick up vocabulary soon. You can also give your baby instructions to go and pick them for you. There by giving your little one extra exercise of running around.
Put on lively tappy music and tap to it. Dance and show your baby some moves. Soon you will see your little one pick it up and start jumping and dancing to the music.
Have a dance concert and enjoy. These movements increase your bonding and also help to improve physical development in your baby
He loves your voice. Sing with your baby. Also, give your baby musical toys to play with. All this will put a groove to his feet and improve his motor skills.
9- Your baby wants your touch.
Use this touch as a tool to encourage his body movements. This will help your baby relax and will also be helpful for his growth.
Massage your baby gently and relieve any aching growing pains that your baby may have. Also, massage improves blood circulation and promote healthy muscles.
10- Tummy time
Tummy Time is also very important in the first few months. This will help your baby hold his head and learn to crawl.
The benefits of tummy time are many. It strengthens your baby’s body for the next set of skills.
Tummy time not only helps improve physical development in your baby but has also proven to help relieve gas in a lot of babies.
It helps in calming down colicky babies. Colic is one of the reasons babies cry a lot. If you like to know how to pacify a crying baby do glance though our article Why is my Baby Crying? Tips to calm your crying Baby
Put toys in front of them, at a distance at which they can reach for it. Watch and enjoy your baby move to reach for the object that is placed in front of him/her.
11- Messy play
After 9 months of age, give your baby different fruits and vegetables. your baby will learn how to grab things and will try to put the whole thing in his mouth but after some time your baby will learn how to eat it in small pieces.
Let your baby get a bit messy and explore food as they eat. They will be improving their fine motor skills that will later on help in developing pincer grip which helps in developing writing skills.
12- Teach and play catch with your baby
Teach your baby how to chase things and reward your baby for whatever your baby does. Play games like ‘catch’ with your baby. Play hide and seek, Treasure hunt etc. All this gives that extra motivation for your baby to run around thereby helping to improve physical development in your baby.
13. Bath time splashes.
Most babies love to have a bath. If your baby is also one such, make your baby spend more time in the bath along with some toys.
This will motivate your baby to splash and play which works wonders to improve physical development in your baby.
Note to Parents – A word of caution
Your help is essential for the physical growth of your baby. But, during all activities, you have to stay with your kid for safety.
Before letting your baby play on the floor, keep all precautionary measures in your mind. If your baby is playing with a blanket it should be clean. Toys should be soft without any sharp edges.
Never leave your baby alone in the bathtub during any fun activity because even a little amount of water in the bathtub can be very dangerous for your baby.
Make sure that your house is baby proof. The area, where your child is moving, should be hazard-free.
Ensure the items that you kid can reach out to and find are child safe and not have any loose parts.
Each child is unique and achieves developmental milestones at their own pace.
We need to do best as parents to motivate and help them in their development and not be anxious when they are a bit slow.
If a milestone is delayed, do speak with your pediatrician for advice.
Never compare with other babies’ growth and developmental milestones. Enjoy each phase of your baby’s growth and rejoice in their uniqueness.
We hope this blog has been helpful to you. If Yes, show us love by sharing the blog post with your friends and loved ones. Together we can make the world a better place one step at a time.
If you have any suggestion and tips to make on how to improve your baby’s physical development, please do share with us in your comments below. This will help us to make our blog better and above all your knowledge will benefit other parents also.