Guest Post Submitted by Tara Heath
One of the many challenges new parents face, or even those with several children, is communicating with them before them can speak. This can be a very slippery slope when it comes to things like diagnosing illnesses or tracking their visual development and progress.
Parents should always be on the lookout (pardon the pun) for abnormalities in their child’s eyes. For example, cloudiness in the lenses could be a sign of congenital cataracts, which could lead to blindness if not corrected with minor surgery. Although this condition that’s usually seen in older folks, it still does affect a small portion of the infant population.
To make sure our infant and toddler’s vision is progressing normally, the AOA (American Optometric Association) recommends certain toys and games for youngsters as they continue to grow and evolve. Here’s their toy tips and playtime activities for little ones:
Birth to Six Months
When infants are born, they can’t see any further than 8 to 10 inches from their face, but this will change quickly. Even when babies are only a few days old, research suggests they’d rather see their mother’s face over a stranger. They’ll also enjoy crib mobiles, gym-type playmats, rattles, and rubber squeaky toys. Play peek-a-boo and pretend patty cake with them.
Six to Eight Months
This is when most babies start to sit up by themselves and are beginning their next adventure, crawling. This is when they are likely to play with stuffed animals and enjoy floating bath toys. To keep them entertained, begin reading to them and showing them the pictures. Hide their favorite toy from them and be sure they are tracking objects with their eyes.
Nine to Twelve Months
Here’s where they’ll usually start actually “toddling” around on their own and are developing their brain activity as well. Keep them stimulated with their own sturdy books and building blocks. Get them some larger-apart toys and snap locking devices. Continue reading to your child and teach them to roll a ball back and forth.
One Year Olds
After their first birthday, now they’re no longer considered an infant and can be introduced to riding toys and rocking horses. Give them brightly colored balls, things they can figure out like zippers and more intense building blocks to challenge them mentally. Always read to your child and at this stage, show them how to catch and throw a ball, although they’re likely already throwing things themselves now.
Two Year Olds
We’re probably looking at potty training as the next challenge for our children at this age, but keeping them visually stimulated is also pressing. Toddlers at this stage are ready for things like large crayons or markers, more challenging toys like puzzles and shape-sorting playthings. Continue reading to them and encourage them to participate by pointing at objects in the book. Introduce them to the great outdoors and play ball with them outside.
These toys and activities are recommended to ensure that kids develop normally on a visual level and should help to sharpen their eye movements. It will also help them with eye-hand coordination skills that they’ll need later for writing and playing sports. You’ll also be able to spend more time with them and everyone will benefit from this important bonding process.