Development 0-6 Months
Things You Can Do To Help
Your baby will be tuning in to the world around them from the very first day. Their brain development is stimulated by time spent with you.
The ‘connections’ or ‘wiring’ in the brain are the foundations for building emotional and physical health. The building of this brain ‘wiring’ begins in the womb. Once your baby is born and can be with you the rate of development increases a lot. The more positive experiences they have with you the stronger and healthier the wiring in their brain will be. There is a video about building baby’s brains *here*.
As your baby’s ‘first teacher’ you are vital to giving your child the loving positive experiences they need. The good news is that by responding to your baby and getting to know each other you will be giving them the best chance to reach their full potential.
- Gross Motor Physical Development
- Fine Motor Physical Development
- Problem Solving Skills
- Personal & Social Development
- If You Are Worried
Babies are born to be sociable and want to communicate with those around them. Babies can show us what they need and how they feel from their earliest days.
*Click here* to take a look at our 'Talk and Play' pages.
Gross motor skills are the movements that use big muscle groups and will eventually mean your baby can roll, sit, crawl, walk, run and jump!
The gross motor movement development during the first six months is amazing. At the beginning they can not hold their own head up and as the months pass will eventually be rolling and maybe even begin to sit up steadily.
Giving your baby the chance to develop these skills and build these muscle groups begins with giving them time and space to do so.
- Let them lie on their back – waving their arms and legs and learning how to move their bodies. They might like short times sitting in bouncy chairs to get used to different positions
- ‘Tummy time’ takes some getting used to – but helps develop different muscle groups. Do this for short periods when they are awake – to begin with they will feel better if they can see you easily right next to them. Your baby should only ever sleep on their back to reduce cot death risks.
- Put toys slightly out of reach to encourage rolling towards them.
As your child gets stronger you can hold them in a sitting position. Let them sit in the ‘v’ of your legs on the floor to develop their muscles and help them learn to sit.
Always be led by your baby they will let you know when they have had enough and need a change!
Fine Motor Skills use the small muscles in the hand and wrist. Over time these muscles can allow your child to hold things, feed themselves, and build with bricks, draw and write.
It takes time for babies to get the co-ordination to hold and control objects. Until they are around 2 months old babies are not even convinced their hands belong to them! Touching, stroking and showing them their hands and arms helps them begin to get the idea. Your baby will be fascinated and enjoy watching their hands as they realise they are a part of them and that they can use them to reach and hold things.
- Lie next to them and let them reach towards you - it takes time for babies to get the co-ordination to reach for what they want and get it.
- Let them try and reach towards toys and books that you are showing them – hold things close to begin with.
- Offer your child rattles and small toys to grab at and hold – Take it slowly - be patient and encouraging – make the toy make a noise then brush it on their hands and fingers. With practice they will get the co-ordination to hold on to toys and put them to their mouths.
To begin with they will grab things with their whole hand. After this they can work on the important and more delicate action using a ‘pinching’ action with their finger and thumb.
When we talk about babies being able to ‘solve problems’ it describes them beginning to think about and understanding their world.
Helping your child experience new things to see and hear, and try new activities will keep them interested. In time this will help your baby remember how things work and understand their world.
To help your baby start to use their memory try and do some things in the same way so they know what is happening. Babies need things to be repeated over and over.
- This could be your bath time routine – where you get them changed in the same place, sing the same songs and play the same tickling game.
- One of the first things they night seem to ‘know’ is when they are going to be fed. It might be the way you lay them as you get ready to breast feed that tells them it is coming. Or they spot that you shake their bottle before you bottle feed. They have let you know they are hungry and you have responded!
- Play peek a boo with them (nice and gently for little ones) they will start to learn that you are still there and love it when they can see your smiley face on the ‘boo’
As the weeks go by your baby will love it when they get to understand their world. They will show you they are excited and enjoy knowing what will happen next.
Personal and social development is how we describe a baby’s need to learn about who they are as a separate little person. They learn about their feelings and their own likes and dislikes.
It is about them developing relationships and the social skills that will make it easier to get along in the world as they grow.
All the things you say and do with your baby lets them know that they are important to you. This is the beginning of building self esteem. As you help them learn new skills and praise them for trying you are building their self confidence.
- Talk to your child about the feelings you see in them- even when they are very small they can tune in to the fact you care about how they feel.
- Spend time with your baby helping them learn new skills and cope with new situations. Show your pride with lots of praise and excitement.
- Enjoy the little person your baby is becoming – all babies are different – try not to compare them with other children you know.
- Tune in to what your baby is ‘telling’ you and respond. For example if family have come round for cuddles but you can feel he wants to be back in your arms. Trust your instincts of what he needs (you can always say ‘he needs a change / feed / sleep' so no feelings are hurt).
Firstly remember that each child will develop at their own pace. If you are worried you can contact our Just One Number team on the details below to talk through your concerns.
Who Can Help?
You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.
Young people aged 11-19 can text Chat Health on 07480 635060
The Patient Activation Measure (PAM) Health Questionnaire will help you to think about your knowledge, skills and confidence in understanding and supporting your baby or child’s health. The results of this can help us, to support you, in setting goals and priorities in a way that is right for you and your family. On completion of the questions you will be signposted to some self care resources which are tailored to your responses. This will help you to take steps to improve your family's health and wellbeing. *Click Here* to find out more.