Your Baby's Cognitive Development 3-6 months
Sing to your baby – she loves it and it also aids language development
Your baby at a glance
Your baby is able to focus more effectively now and her eye-hand coordination is also improving. During this stage you are likely to see your baby:
- Expanding the way he explores the world, by both touching and shaking things, as well as putting them in his mouth
- Seeking out stimulation more actively, increasingly engaging you in interaction
- Starting to show memory and links, e.g. anticipating bath time when seeing the wash basket come out
- Laughing out loud for the first time, probably in response to a tickle or you making a funny face or noise
- Becoming more aware of her own body, e.g. touching her tummy, staring at her hands, or tasting her toes
Your baby's story
Your baby is showing an increasing interest in what is going on around him, and he will engage more actively with toys (including putting them in his mouth for investigation). During this stage he will become more interactive and respond to you with excitement and increased activity, smiles and laughs, louder tones of voice and cooing sounds.
Loud cries may be heard when he wants you to attend to a need. Your baby will love it if you sing to him, and there is evidence that babies actually prefer listening to singing more than talking. The regular pulse of music is also thought to enhance how mother (parent) and baby attune to each other’s emotions (emotional coordination).
Your baby is enjoying watching the activities of everyone around her; she listens actively to nursery rhymes and to conversations. As her ability to explore increases, she will love hearing sounds and feeling the textures of objects she touches. When you place your baby on a rug or playmat for some tummy time, she'll be able to play independently with toys for shorter periods of time. Your baby is becoming more aware of herself and will start exploring different parts of her body; you may see her poking her tummy, and playing with her fingers and toes (perhaps biting them).
Towards 6 months of age, your baby’s memory is improving and he will start to make links such as anticipating bath time when seeing the wash basket come out. He is starting to develop recognition of familiar places and people, and will increasingly associate different emotional responses with situations and people in his life.
What you can do to support and encourage your baby's development
Your baby loves watching you do different things around the house. If you have a safe and practical chair you can take him with you to different rooms. Keep interaction going with him, he'll enjoy hearing you talk about what you are doing.
Tummy time is important for physical development. Let your baby play on a mat or a rug with some toys that have different noises, textures and colours. Of course you'll be nearby safety and interaction, or when she wants to be picked up (for a cuddle or when tummy time becomes tiring).
Sing songs to your baby. Nursery rhymes are great as they have rhymes and repetitive sounds, which aid language development. Your baby will also benefit from interacting with other adults and children, and enjoys listening to conversations in the room. He is constantly learning about words, the rhythm of language and the 'rules' of conversation. Routines can be beneficial for both sleep and a sense of security for your baby. Daily routines also provide good practice for memory development. Your baby experiences predictability and can establish associations and expectations.