Education

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You are your child's first - and best - teacher

Birth to 6 Months

Before your baby is even 6 months old, there are lots of easy, everyday ways you can begin to prepare him for a lifetime of learning and success. Here are milestones and warning signs you can look for, plus simple steps and activities you can use to help him develop - and succeed.

 Milestones By the time he is 6 months old, you can expect your child to:
  • Make gurgling, babbling, cooing sounds
  • Respond to voices
  • Enjoy interacting with others
  • Smile in response to smiles from others
  • React to emotions of others
  • Respond to his own name
  • "Explore" with his hands and mouth
  • Support his own head for more than a moment
  • Roll from his stomach to his back, and from back to stomach
Warning Signs
Telltale signs of slow development can help you provide the best care for your child. Here are some warning signs to watch for by the time your baby is 6 months old.
  • He seems very stiff, with tight muscles - or very floppy, like a rag doll.
  • He refuses to cuddle.
  • His head still flops back when you pull his body up to a sitting position.
  • One or both eyes often turn in or out.
  • He doesn't respond to sounds around him.
  • If you notice any of these signs, be sure to talk about them with your child's doctor at his next checkup.

Tips for Success

Hold your baby often to help him feel loved and safe. Talk or sing to your baby while you do everyday things like dressing, bathing, feeding or playing with him.

Activity

 Sing simple songs and nursery rhymes from the time your baby is born. Use your hands and fingers to act out the songs. Smile while you sing and change your facial expressions to fit the song or rhyme. This helps begin to develop language and memory, and starts to prepare your child to read! Some songs children enjoy include:
  • Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
  • The Itsy Bitsy Spider
  • ABC Song
  • I'm a Little Teapot
  • Old McDonald Had a Farm
Tips for Success
  • Read to him every day.
  • Make sure other care-givers form loving and comforting relationships with him.
  • Play on the floor with him.

Activity

Help your baby strengthen muscles by playing on his tummy. (What you will need: toys, photographs, pictures or books) While your baby is wide awake and alert, place him on a blanket on his tummy for short periods of time. Talk about what he is seeing. Be sure to keep your baby awake during "tummy time" or to roll him over on his back if he falls asleep.

Checkups and Immunizations

Even when he's healthy, it's important to take your baby to a pediatrician (children's doctor) for checkups and immunizations (shots) at ages 1 month, 2 months, 4 months and 6 months. Take his immunization record with you to all his checkups. Your pediatrician will keep it up to date.

Content provided courtesy of Success By 6 ™ of United Way of Greater Cincinnati