After Pregnancy: How Dads Teach Baby New Tricks

By Mathew Miller, Sharon Perkins

You may think babies discover the world of their own volition without the help of his new dad and mom, but the truth is that you need to give your little one a push. In fact, the more time you put into teaching and nurturing your baby, the prouder you’ll be when she learns to roll over, clap, wave bye-bye, or play with a toy.

Bonding happens daily with babies, and a child’s way of thinking is practically set in stone by age 3. You can have a huge influence on the rate at which your child develops, but more important, you can have a huge influence on your child’s entire life by getting involved in playtime and the open expression of love.

Following are some milestones you can help baby achieve in the first six months:

  • Crawling: New studies show that the way babies’ brains react during crawling (the right brain controls the left side of the body and vice versa) is an important milestone that can help reduce behavioral and mental disorders in children. Help ensure your child can crawl by putting a coveted toy just out of reach and waiting for her to come and get it.

  • Making sounds: Babies have their own language that you don’t understand, and the more they hear it repeated back to them, the more they’ll talk, which aids in language development down the road.

  • Peekaboo: Babies will laugh as you disappear and reappear time and again, all while beginning to understand the idea of cause and effect.

  • Reaching and gripping: Dangle colorful toys and baby-safe objects in front of your child and wait for her to reach for them. Encourage gripping by wrapping baby’s hand around the object and letting go.

  • Rolling over: Lay your baby on her back on a play mat or a colorful rug to encourage her to turn over and begin to explore. When she can support her own head, give her plenty of tummy time on her belly, which develops the stomach muscles and allows her to roll over.

  • Tracking objects: Slowly move a colorful object back and forth and up and down in front of baby’s eyes. This activity helps the brain begin to follow movement.