10 Things Interfering with your Infant's Development
Here are 10 things that may interfere with your infant’s development.
Two many layers: At just two weeks old, your infant is already trying to move their hands; at first, without any specific goal. With time, they will begin trying to touch themselves, you and the objects you present them with too many clothes and blankets limit their movement, making it hard for them to learn to move their extremities. It is recommended to warm your house on cold days, to allow your infant to move with greater freedom and only layer for sleep.
Not enough tummy time: Laying on their bellies is essential to strengthening their shoulder muscles, learning how to roll over, crawl, walk and later on - hold a pencil and write. It is recommended to allow your children to lay on their bellies - known as tummy time - from a young age, in bed, or on a mattress placed on the floor. Towards their six-month birthday, it is recommended to place them on a harder surface (like a mattress), so that they can push themselves forward with their feet and learn to crawl. If you use a soft surface, like a blanket, they may learn to pull the blanket in order to bring objects to them, instead of pushing their legs and moving forward towards the objects.
Socks: Socks make infants slip and prevent them from feeling all aspects of moving their feet. As such, it is recommended that when attempting to crawl, infants learn to push themselves forward without any socks on. And when they are approaching those first memorable steps, it is recommended that they remain barefoot, as much as possible. When venturing outdoors, you can put pre-walkers on their feet. As opposed to socks, pre-walkers have a thin, non-slip leather sole, which enables infants to move about and sense the motion with their entire foot.
Fear that they’ll put items in their mouths: While this does require adult supervision, your infant’s placing objects, toys and fingers in their mouths is an important developmental stage. It contributes to the strengthening of their hand, eye and mouth coordination, improves their use of their mouth, readies it for speech development and more. It is recommended to select safe objects that will not come apart and do not contain small pieces, or infant teether toys.
Too much time in the house: Most child development experts recommend spending time with your infant outdoors every day. Time outdoors stimulates the senses, activates the body and promotes good health. From the age of 3-4 months, it is recommended to spread out a blanket and let your infant lay on their belly outside, so they can listen to the birds, feel rocks and leaves of varying textures and try and reach interesting places.
The bouncer seat: Too much time spent sitting in the bouncer, car seat or in any other inclined contraption overexerts the lower vertebrae and causes the stomach muscles to contract, at the expense of the all-important shoulder muscle strengthening. At the same time, the infant is exposed to tons of stimuli through no effort of their own, which can lead them to refuse to lay on their belly and prefer the bouncer.
The jumper/walker: whether it’s hung from the ceiling, or wheels on the ground, they enable your infants to stand without placing any weight on their legs. While your infant may enjoy this position immensely, they are not learning to stand by shifting their weight and maintaining balance. As such, these toys can delay their first steps.
A lack of suitable stimuli: It is important to activate all of your infant’s senses from an early age: sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. This is done by presenting your infant with age-appropriate stimuli, such as objects of varying textures that will entice them to reach out, flipping through picture books to entice their sense of sight and avoiding strong perfumes - your infant recognizes your natural scent and loves it as is.
Late exposure to solids: The Health Ministry recommends starting with tastings at 4 months of age, and moving on to a full meal at six months. Exposure to solids is not just for nutritional purposes; by coping with new foods in their mouths, infants learn to use their jaws and tongues and discover how to chew and suck. These actions will help them develop speech capabilities in the coming months.
Inadequate nutrition: Studies show that a lack of proper nutrition during the infant’s first year of life will likely inhibit their motor and cognitive development. One of the most common nutritional deficits is a lack of iron, essential to many developmental processes, including brain development. The Health Ministry recommends that infants take an iron supplement from 4-18 months of age.
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