How to Stimulate Baby’s Eyes
Your baby’s vision is constantly developing from the moment of birth.
Like his other senses, baby’s sense of sight serves as a doorway to his mind. As your baby grows older, the input he receives from his senses will stimulate the nerve cells in his brain to make connections that are crucial for learning and cognitive development.
It is therefore important for parents to stimulate baby’s visual sense so more connections are made in his brain.
How baby develops sense of sight
Baby’s vision is one of his least developed senses at birth but within a year; expect his sense of sight to rapidly develop. This will be a time of remarkable developmental milestones which will delight every parent, especially first time moms and dads.
The following is a common timeline of the way your baby develops his sight.
Within the first month, baby can only focus at objects within 20 to 30 centimeters away so he can just about make out the faces of the people holding him. Make the most of this time to keep baby close and show him different facial expressions.
At 1 month, baby can already see color but she cannot distinguish the different shades. Red and orange, for instance, will look similar to him.
2 to 3 months
Around 2 months, baby will be able to see and differentiate the various shades of colors. He will also learn to appreciate bold patterns and shapes that he sees around her.
At 4 months, your baby will begin to gauge distance between her and different objects around her. She will thus begin to reach out for things that catch her attention in the immediate environment.
When your baby reaches 5 months, he will have better mastered the use of his visual sense. He’ll begin to notice details and track moving objects with his eyes. Try partly hiding an object and he will most likely spot it.
6 to 7 months
At about 6 to 7 months, baby will start to improve his hand eye coordination. You’ll notice how he will enjoy playing and studying things – even his food – with his hands.
At 8 months old, your baby will see almost as well as adults. His clarity and depth perception will have improved a lot at this point. Baby will also start to recognize and remember familiar faces. Try holding up photos of family members and see if baby reacts.
9 to 12 months
When your baby turns a year baby will be able to use his depth perception to explore and move around. By this time, he can estimate distances better and can reach and throw things with precision.
7 Activities that Help Stimulate Baby’s Sense of Sight
As a parent and caregiver, you have an important role in helping stimulate your baby’s sense of sight. Here are some things you can do to help baby improve his visual development and maturity:
1. Make eye contact
Eye contact is one of the basic and most important ways that parents connect with their children. At an early age, your child will only be able to see your face so it’s important to make him feel safe and secure. Making eye contact also facilitates what researchers call “serve and return” interactions. This type of interaction helps develop baby’s social skills and growth.
2. Play with toys and books in high contrast colors
At 1 month old, baby is not yet able to see the different shades of colors so it’s best to use books and toys that are in high contrast colors like black and white. At two months, baby is able to distinguish different colors so this is a good time to introduce him to primary shades of yellow, red and blue.
3. Play peek-a-boo
Play peek-a-boo by covering your face with your hands or with a blanket. This simple activity will not only entertain baby, it will develop his observation skills. This is also a good way to introduce baby to cause and effect.
4. Decorate baby’s room in bright and bold colors
Even at a young age, baby can already see and appreciate bold patterns and bright colors. Decorate baby’s room so that it becomes more vibrant and interesting. Hang a mobile in dark or high contrast colors over his crib. Or paint the ceiling in bright primary colors. All these will help baby get used to different sensory details.
5. Let baby learn while eating
If you’ve decided to let baby try solid food at this point, encourage him to play and study the food in front of him. Baby’s first solid food is not only a great way for him to experience new texture and tastes, it helps develops his hand eye coordination.
6.Play with mirrors
Let baby see himself in the mirror and teach him the different parts of his face. You can also encourage him to exercise his different facial expressions. Hold a mirror about 8 to 12 inches away from baby and let him focus and be delighted at the image in front of him.
7.Go to new places
Encourage baby to use his sense of sight by letting him see as many new places. Take baby to visually stimulating places like the beach or the zoo. Point out the different animals, plants and objects around and watch baby take in all the new sensory details with wonder.
Important health reminders:
- Make sure your baby’s toys and books do not have sharp edges.
- If you suspect baby is experiencing visual problems, see a pediatrician immediately.
- Some signs you should be on the lookout for include: excessive eye redness, haziness, and discharge from the eyes, drooping eyelids and problems with eye movement.
- Even if baby’s vision seem to be developing normally, it is advisable to go to an eye doctor for a routine checkup. A thorough eye examination when your baby turns 6 months will help identify early signs of vision problems.
Here’s an informative video that talks about different signs of vision problems in babies and what you can do: