Parents can relate to that exhilarating feeling of seeing their baby take her first steps or hearing her utter her first words. Marking milestones is one of the most rewarding moments of parenthood. But did you know that these milestones aren’t just reminders of your child’s growth, but they are also reassurances of your growing bond?
Here are some milestones that bond you more meaningfully during the first 2 years of your child’s life.
1. Eye Contact
Before a baby even speaks, she begins to communicate. Between 6 to 8 weeks, your fast developing little one already has the ability to make eye contact. This means they’re neurological development is right on track, as is their ability to recognize your loving, familiar face. When held or spoken to, infants spend 90% of the time looking into a person’s eyes, giving meaning to each word spoken to them before they can even respond.
While babies can grin as early as 3 weeks of age, their social smile, or smiling in response to some stimulation, usually appears at 3 months. This smile can make any parent’s heart flutter, reassuring them that their little one is beginning to communicate their happiness or contentment. This forms a deeper attachment, making you more bonded.
Parents should encourage baby’s cooing and babbling because this is an essential part of language development. It’s also a way to bond with babies. The conversation may be gibberish, for now, but it’s no less meaningful as talking to them once they’re older.
4. Reaching and grasping
Once your child starts to reach and grab objects, she is exercising her power to act towards the world around her.
“It shows desire, interest, and curiosity, which are all critical for learning,” Claire Lerner, director of parenting resources at a U.S. non-profit organization tells CNN.
At 7 or 8 months, babies develop the pincer frasp, or the ability to use their fingers to pick up objects. It is an important skill that parents can encourage as it will be useful as they learn to become more independent, brushing their teeth or dressing themselves without help. As they learn, however, guiding them can also be a way for you to bond.
When your baby is able to pull herself to a standing position, which happens at around 9 to 10 months, you naturally feel a sense of accomplishment. This is one of the early signs that she’s ready to walk. Make sure to encourage this by helping her spend less time in the stroller or car seat. Hold her hand, but let go when it’s time. Bonding with them also means allowing them to stand on their own.
Before you know it, your little one will soon be running and jumping about!
6. First word
Hearing your little one mouth their first few words and string phrases together can bring unimaginable joy. No longer is she babbling unintelligibly, she is starting to converse in her own little way! This is a great way to form bonds through words, as it helps you get to know your child and be amazed as her personality slowly starts to take shape through her expression of thoughts and feelings.
7. Pretend play
Nurturing your child’s imagination through play is an important part of the bonding process. Starting at about 8 months of age, your little one starts to imitate words, actions, and facial expressions. This is why kids pretend to be like their moms on the phone, copying her tone, even if they’re only babbling. They form symbolic thinking this way and they develop their own little quirks and mannerisms based on those they see around them.
Is your child under the age of 2? Share their adorable milestones in the comments below!
READ: Track your baby’s language development by noting these important milestones!
sources: CNN.com, Livestrong.com, Childresearch.net