Helping your 6-month-old thrive: Tips + activities

Use bath time to learn new things.

Helping your 6-month-old thrive: Tips + activities

Your curious kiddo is getting the hang of lots of new things this month: eating (and playing with) solid foods, sitting unassisted, sleeping on a schedule (with two naps!) and making new sounds. So get ready for lots (and lots) of peekaboo now that your baby understands cause and effect.

Dr. Tovah Klein, head of the Toddler Center at Barnard College and author of How Toddlers Thrive, shares fun ways you can play with your baby to encourage exploration and get lots of giggles in the process.

Tips for your 6-month-old

Play peekaboo.

Try putting your hands over your face and ask, “Where’s Mommy?” then remove them. This game, played over and over, helps your baby learn that you go bye-bye, but then you come back. This helps her learn about separation from you, and helps her practice saying goodbye, knowing that you will be back. Plus, it is a lot of fun!

Play back-and-forth games.

Give your baby a toy, then put your hand out and say, “Now give it to Mommy.” Eventually she’ll give it back (it’s okay if she doesn’t; she may just want to hold it, too). Then you can say, “You gave it back. Now I give it to you.” Babies love this game and can do it over and over. She also likes to copy you. If you bang on a toy, she will try it too.

Use bath time to learn new things.

Give your baby clean, empty plastic containers. Fill them with water, then let your baby pour it out and see what happens as the water falls, or when she pours it into an empty cup. This is how she learns about how things work and it helps her brain develop.

When she splashes and you laugh, she learns about connecting and playing with you. This will help her learn about playing with other people, and friends, as she gets older. Bath time may also be the one quiet time you get alone with her. When you gently bathe her, and snuggle her in a towel afterward, she enjoys being with you. This helps her feel good about herself and shows her how much she is loved.

Let her play with her food.

Aside from eating new things, experiencing how it feels is another way of learning.

From building block towers to making music together, child development psychologist Dr. Holly Ruhl has week-by-week tips for month seven.

Week-by-week activities

Week 1

Now that baby is sitting independently, a family-friendly concert in the park would be a mutually rewarding activity for you and baby. Bring a picnic blanket, baby carrier, and a few toys to keep your tot content during intermission. Even young infants are predisposed to comprehend and appreciate music, and your little one will love it even more if you enjoy it, too!

Week 2

Mamas often get caught up in the daily grind. This week, put down the phone and make room for classic play time with your tot. Roll around on the carpet, build block towers and play demolition, read books, roll a ball back and forth, or put a box on your head and help your babe remove it—Peekaboo, Mama! This quality interaction fosters baby’s competence and security.

Week 3

Baby needs many hands-on experiences to develop adaptive grasping skills. Fill a box with household items of varying textures, sounds, smells, and colors for your tot to explore. Put doubles of each object in the box to help baby find pairs, mimic baby’s behaviors with matching objects, and introduce the idea of “two,” a concept developed in the second year.

Week 4

Exploration with music can develop motor skills, socio-emotional awareness, and so much more! Engage your little one with egg shakers, maracas, bells, or good ole’ pots and pans. Baby will develop the foundations for rhythm by shaking and whacking instruments, moving to the beat and learning hand motions to beloved children’s songs.

A treat for little one: B. One Two Squeeze Blocks

Build. Topple. Repeat. Baby will love watching you create a tower of blocks and then helping to knock it down. These squeezable, floatable and of course chewable blocks are perfect for little hands to grab.

We're so glad to live in a time when modern baby gear exists. Sure, no one is going to argue that having a baby is easy—but it can be easier with support from some gadgets designed to help your baby and put your mind at ease.

As you build your baby registry, look for products that go the extra mile to make your life a whole lot easier. For example, what's better than a bassinet? A bassinet that can rock by itself. And what's better than a traditional baby monitor? One that allows you to actually take a peek at your baby. Believe us when we say these upgrades can make all the difference.

Here are 10 baby gadgets that will make your life so much easier… relatively speaking, of course!

A bassinet to promote safe + sound sleep

HALO Innovations Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Essenta Series Nautical Net

The safest place for your newborn to sleep is in your room, but not in your bed. Thanks to the swivel function of the Halo Bassinest, you can easily tend to your baby during the night—which means more sleep for you, too. Trust us when we say that is the best gift you can give a new parent.


A smart swing for your baby

4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

Believe it or not, many babies are born with strong opinions about how they want to be rocked, swung or shushed to calm down. With the mamaRoo's various motions and reclining positions, you'll be able to find a setting your baby loves when you need to free up your hands for a bit.


A complete travel system for car + sidewalk

Chicco Bravo Travel System - Indigo

No matter where the day takes you—or what mode of transportation you need to get there—getting a complete travel system for your baby will equip you for anything.


A swaddle you don’t have to wrestle

Love To Dream Swaddle UP Original

What do babies and Harry Houdini have in common? A knack for breaking out of tight constraints—which can be a headache when swaddling is the best way to help promote good sleep. Thanks to a breakout-proof swaddle that allows your baby to sleep with their hands up, you don't have to work up a sweat just to get your baby comfortably swaddled.


A nursery wherever you need it

Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

During the early days of parenting (when you are feeding and changing your baby around the clock), having convenient access to everything you need with a go-anywhere nursery station can save you serious time and energy.


A little help for stuffy noses

Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator

Up until the point years down the road when your child is able to blow their own nose, the sniffles can be a real struggle—but not with a nasal aspirator that makes it easy for you to get that snot out of their nose.


A way to keep an eye on your baby

VTech 5" Digital Video Baby Monitor - VM5251

Trust us when we say you'll sleep better when you know your baby is also sleeping soundly. That's why we're so thankful for modern-day video monitors, which allow you to check in on your sleeping baby without running the risk of waking them up when you sneak in for a peek.


A bassinet for hands-free rocking

Simmons Kids Silent Auto Gliding Elite Bassinet - Odyssey

Babies are soothed by rocking motions. But what does that mean for you if you can't rock them throughout the night? With an auto-gliding bassinet, they can comfortably drift off to sleep... and continue snoozing.


An easy way to contain diaper smells

Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

Sometimes it's the little conveniences that make a big difference in the quality of your day-to-day life. That's why a great diaper pail should not be undervalued: By containing the smell, you will save yourself dozens upon dozens of trips to the garbage can.


A white noise machine that pulls double duty

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

A phone-controlled sound machine may be something you never considered until now, but it will be a major lifesaver for years to come, especially as it can also function as a time-to-rise clock that promotes good sleep habits for your child.


And as for securing all these awesome products? Well, a Target baby registry is the way to do it. By creating your baby registry with Target, you will also enjoy their Year of Benefits registry program, which includes perks like a welcome kit with more than $100 in savings and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. The benefits are better than ever right now: Target just launched the Year of Exclusive Deals perk as one of its registry benefits, and this includes a year's worth of discounts on baby essentials (think diapers and formula) and comes complementary when you sign up for Target Circle.

Because while parenting may not be "easy," deciding to register with Target definitely is an easy decision. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with a Year of Benefits featuring a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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