With the hectic schedule of caring for a newborn we often forget that everyone benefits from physical activity, even babies. When we hear parents talk about their infants, the conversation usually focuses on feeding and sleeping. I rarely hear anyone talking about spending some time in those early months on physical activity.
The books on newborns also focus on sleeping, eating, and cognitive development. But I am amazed that exercise is rarely mentioned as a strategy for helping them become better sleepers. As adults we are very aware that a day of increased physical activity will often guarantee a better sleep, but for some reason we fail to make the connection with infants.
This is only one of many reasons it is important to think about your child’s activity levels throughout their whole life, including the first year.
And it starts with learning the basic movement skills. But babies are not all born with the same ability, because they are born at different developmental stages. A child that is born premature, for example, will take a while to catch up to a 10-pound baby born a week after her due date.
Remember that these suggestions are guidelines, and you should watch for what is making your baby happy. The activities they enjoy are often the best ones for them at that particular time.
With that in mind, here are the physical skills you should be helping your infant work on at various stages of their first year.