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Helping your four-month-old thrive: Tips and activities

When your baby babbles, talk to her as if she really knows what you’re saying.

Helping your four-month-old thrive: Tips and activities

It doesn’t take much to make your baby happy these days. (And a flash of that toothless grin makes you feel like just maybe you’ve got this whole parenting thing down!) At four months, your little one is continuing to discover her world. She may start rolling, putting everything in her mouth, and playing that “game” of throwing toys onto the floor for you pick up at least 35 times (consider it an impromptu workout). ?


Tips for your 4 month old

Dr. Tovah Klein, head of the Toddler Center at Barnard College and author of ‘How Toddlers Thrive’ has simple tips for helping your baby learn, laugh, and grow.

Tell baby what you’re doing

When your baby babbles, talk to her as if she really knows what you’re saying. The more you talk to your baby, the more language she hears, and the better she learns. (She also loves to hear your voice more than anything else!) Tell her what you’re doing, “I have a ball and you are looking at it. Do you see the ball?”

Sing songs or nursery rhymes.

You’ll be amazed at what you remember from your own childhood.

Continue tummy time.

Put your baby on her tummy with toys nearby to look at and reach for. This gets her muscles ready for sitting and crawling. Be sure to sit with her (you’re still the best play partner and audience).

Soon, she may be able to get up on her hands and knees and rock back and forth, and begin to move objects from one hand to the other.

Hold your baby up to a mirror.

Babies love to see themselves! She’ll smile and even laugh as you point out the baby in the mirror (she doesn’t yet know it is her reflection). Tell her, “See the baby? Hi sweet baby.” Point to her nose, mouth, ears, and name each body part.

Give her safe objects to play with that aren’t toys.

Give your baby a rubber teething ring, or a plastic lid that she can’t choke on (from cottage cheese or yogurt) to hold, mouth, and look at.

Remember, you can’t spoil your baby.

Holding and comforting a baby when they cry makes them feel loved, not spoiled. Your baby counts on you soothe her, feed her (only if she is truly hungry), and figure out what she needs.

Week-by-week activities

From the activity mat to activities outside of your house, child development psychologist Dr. Holly Ruhl has week-by-week tips for making the most of month five:

Week 1

Baby now has a keen eye for colors. Check your art museum for family activities that will open baby’s eyes to a new world of colors! Many museums offer weekly events for children to observe galleries or get messy with hands-on activities. Discuss the scenes, colors, and emotions felt in the art pieces and baby will be a discerning patron of the fine arts in no time!

Week 2

The old “out of sight, out of mind” trick may lose its effectiveness as your tot develops object permanence. Embrace baby’s new skill with games like Guess Which Hand, Hide-and-Seek with toys, and Peek-a-Boo! These challenging games will help baby develop expectations about hidden objects and soon find them!

Week 3

You are an essential role model in baby’s life. Show your tot how important (and fun!) it is to be physically active and philanthropic by signing up for a charitable walk/run. Bring the stroller and baby carrier so your little one can have multiple vantage points for observing the excitement!

Week 4

Exercise baby’s developing depth perception with a trip to the aquarium! Pique curiosity by gazing at the sea life, listening to tour guides, and touching interactive exhibits. Pro tip: A baby carrier offers a better view of the underwater magic and may foster secure attachment by helping you respond more easily to baby’s oohs and aahs.

A treat for baby: Sassy Floor Mirror

This soft mirror props up on easily on the floor, which will keep your baby busy with her own adorable reflection during tummy time.

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