How to stimulate a newborn's eyesight and hearing?
- Author Oleksiy Denysenko
- Published November 12, 2020
- Word count 1,127
The five senses we are born with we allow us to perceive the world around us, but the level of their development at the time of birth varies from child to child. The first and most important sense by which the fetus perceives its surroundings is hearing, which enables it to know the sound of its mother's voice or the beating of her heart. Immediately after birth, the vision of the newborn is the least developed sense. How can you ensure the proper development of these and other senses? There is no better way than active stimulation!
The development of eyesight from birth to the age of one
1 month old
• has blurry vision (visual acuity is 30 times lower than in an adult's),
• does not distinguish shapes and colors, because they blend together,
• has not learned to focus on objects or people, let alone moving objects,
• the most visible objects for an infant are strongly outlined and black and white (and they are the most stimulating),
• better perceives objects on the edge of their field of view; has so-called peripheral vision.
Stimulating the eyesight of a newborn - install large, black and white objects, with contrasting, expressive elements in the close vicinity of the child (e.g. in the crib), which the child will be able to notice and on which their eyes will be able to focus for extended periods of time.
2-3 months old
• begins to follow objects and people with their eyes more consciously,
• directs their head towards an observed light source,
• laid on the stomach, begins to raise their head.
Stimulating the eyesight of an infant - an example of a proven exercise is to place contrasting pictures or objects in front of the baby lying on their stomach. This not only gives the toddler the ability to stimulate the eyesight but also forces them to raise their head to see something, which exercises and strengthens the muscles. Consider introducing a colorful educational mat that will stimulate the child to focus on colored objects.
4-5 months old
• can focus on more complex shapes,
• sees their own hands and points towards the desired object,
• perceives more colors, especially bright, intense colors,
• can follow a moving object that is about 30 cm away from their face.
Stimulating the eyesight of an infant – use black and white pictures for babies and toys in black and white colors that can be moved closer and further from the child's face when playing with them.
6-8 months old
• eyesight becomes more and more efficient, the toddler notices distant objects as well as those that are in motion,
• consciously follows objects,
• masters eye-hand coordination,
• grasps toys and even shifts them from hand to hand.
Stimulating the eyesight of an infant – toys with a large diameter are a good solution since they are easier for a child to grasp and shift from hand to hand, which incentivizes intensive opening of the hand. For a toddler that is already able to crawl, you can leave toys at a distance that will make the baby move towards them.
9-12 months old
• can perceive the world “to its fullest” using their senses, which are already at a high level,
• points their finger at the desired thing or person,
• can show details in pictures or booklets,
• recognizes sounds made by familiar animals.
Stimulating the eyesight of an infant – contrasting pictures with animals, frequent contact with other people and children.
Even though the baby's eyesight is the least developed sense at birth, it develops very intensively (up to about 2 years of age), so it is worth providing the baby with appropriate visual experience, adapted to their current abilities.
The development of hearing from birth to the age of one
Hearing is the most developed sense at the time of birth. But although a newborn can hear well, they are nevertheless sensitive to high-pitched sounds, especially very sudden ones. In the 20th week of gestation, the baby develops the ability to hear low-frequency sounds, and in the third trimester recognizes the sound of the mother's voice, as well as music.
From birth until around 4 months of age
After birth, the sounds of music are soothing for the baby, so he can calm down and calm down with them. However, she reacts to sharp sounds with Moro's reflex, consisting in a sudden throw of her hands to the side and tensing the body. She may also start crying or squeezing her eyes tight when she makes sudden loud noises.
Stimulating the hearing of an infant - as the toddler reacts poorly to loud sounds, it is worth providing him with a quiet and peaceful environment, sounds of the radio, conversations, lullabies, etc.
0-3 months old
• the child reacts to known sounds,
• turns their head towards the source of the sound,
• the child starts to coo, i.e. unconsciously make sounds,
• wakes up when they hear loud noises
• smiles when they hear a familiar voice,
• listens to the conversations of other people around them,
• the child stops moving when they hear a sudden sound, such as a doorbell,
• exhibits change in activity, e.g. the child sucks when they hear their mom's voice.
4-6 months old
• the child starts to crow, i.e. consciously make their own sounds,
• reacts to the rustle of paper,
• can locate the source of a sound,
• listens to what others say.
7-9 months old
• begins to react to their name,
• tries to imitate the sounds heard around them,
• understands the emotional meaning of the parents' statements, e.g. you must not,
• listens to their own sounds,
• is able to manipulate sound toys to produce sound.
10-12 months old
• the child says their first words,
• moves when they hear music,
• recognizes onomatopoeic expressions,
• focuses for much longer on the sound they hear,
• understand simple commands.
It is worth getting your baby accustomed to the sounds of devices such as a vacuum cleaner or hairdryer (the so-called white noise) as soon as possible, even during sleep. These sounds remind your baby of the sounds they heard while in the womb.
Stimulating your baby's hearing is much easier than stimulating eyesight and does not require the purchase of contrasting books or items. It is enough to just talk to the baby, sing, play lullabies, or quiet songs. You can also use rattles, squeaks, or sound toys.
Polysensory stimulation, i.e. the stimulation of many senses at once, is very important for a child from the moment it is born. It helps with the development of sensory integration, that is, perceiving the environment through the senses, processing the information they deliver and remembering it. This has a huge impact on the development of a newborn, so it is worth taking care of properly facilitating the development of the child's senses.
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