Your baby is born with a brain that contains all the elements of human intelligence. What he needs is help in developing this intelligence. New born babies recognise their mother’s voice but find it hard to focus their eyes or make much sense of the world in the first two or three months. They find out about the world largely through their eyes but their focus is limited to 8–10 inches (20–25cms) and anything nearer or further away appears blurred. After about 6 weeks the eyes focus but he will remain short-sighted for sometime after that. He starts by recognising faces, then gradually begins to see and understand the world around him.
| Help in this process of development by playing games from birth, such as Look at this, Watch it move and Peepo! Talk to your baby as you play with him. Respond to his infant | coos with delighted replies. Repeat your syllables slowly in a highpitched voice when you say ‘Look at this!’ or ‘Clever baby!’ Speak slowly with a singsong or up-down quality and a slightly higher | pitch as it holds your baby’s attention longer than the ordinary way of speaking. Experts call this way of talking ‘parentese’.
| By the age of three months a healthy baby takes increasing charge of its environment. It skilfully manipulates the behaviour of its mother and other caregivers so that it gets the attention, | care and food it needs through a mixture of gaze, facial expression and voice (by crying). His brain develops through play and interaction with others. He will be fascinated by objects that move or | make a noise, so hanging mobiles over where a baby is lying helps their visual interest and development. After three months introduce your child to new kinds of games.
| Babies from one month often produce their first ‘ooh’ sounds from pleasurable experiences like play. Understanding what others say gradually develops from about 6 months. From 6 to 9 months | babies can repeat vowel sounds like ‘dadadada’ which begin to sound like speech. Help by ‘guessing’ what he is trying to say. His first words are usually spoken after a year, with a burst of new | words coming about the middle of the second year as he increasingly repeats what he hears. Talking to your child and encouraging him to respond can really help in his language development. | Play story games, singing games, rhyming games, action games, musical games, drawing games and other active games to develop your child’s growing range of skills