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It's clear when a baby's verbal skills are ramping up: She's constantly trying to communicate with you with an ever-growing store of sounds. Here's a playful way to help her keep working on speech.
Appropriate for: 3 to 9 months
Skills developed: Verbal
What you'll need: Two play telephones, or real phones that are turned off or disconnected
Give your baby one telephone, holding the receiver up to her ear. Then use your phone to hold a one-sided conversation, using a slow, exaggerated speaking style. Leave long pauses between your questions and comments, and soon you may notice her beginning to make gurgling and cooing responses.
This is a great way to help your baby practice the rhythms of conversation – sooner than you might think, she'll join in with her own two cents.
Ever watch your baby turn her gaze to follow a patch of sunlight on the wall? Cater to her captivation with light and dark by playing a soothing bedtime game.
Appropriate for: 4 months to 1 year
Skills developed: Visual, sense of cause and effect
What you'll need: A flashlight with a relatively strong beam
Think of how hypnotizing it is to watch a searchlight sweep the night sky. You can achieve this same effect with a flashlight in a darkened room.
When it's time for lights out, hold your baby or sit with her on your lap (this works well in a rocking chair). Shine the flashlight beam slowly over the walls and ceiling, encouraging your baby to follow the moving light with her eyes.
Many babies find this very relaxing. You can even create a soothing sound and light show by playing quiet music at the same time or by telling a story about traveling among the stars.
Remember: Each baby develops at a different pace, so if yours isn't quite ready for this week's activities, don't worry – just try them again in a few weeks.
Visit your 3-month-old, week 4 page