You just brought the cutest baby home from the hospital. Now let’s talk about appropriate play so that your child will grow and develop on track. Sonia Khiantani, Janet Atkins and Melissa Bush from Le Bonheur’s Pediatric Rehab - Germantown staff share their thoughts on playing with babies.

Some things to remember: early on, your child needs up to 90 minutes of awake tummy time per day, needs to spend awake time off the back of his or her head, and needs to change positions regularly throughout the day (i.e. swing, Boppy, infant seat). Always remember, no matter what position your child is in, it is important to keep his or her ears level.

The following are appropriate developmental milestones by age:

Birth to 3 Months

  • Attempts to lift head up when lying on tummy
  • Spends tummy time on your chest, over the Boppy, or on an inclined cushion
  • Attends to sounds and startles to loud noises
  • Develops social smile
  • Watches faces intently and follows moving objects
  • Grasps and holds objects
  • Sucking and rooting

3 to 6 Months

  • Holds head up in all positions and reaches for toys in play
  • Bears weight through straight arms in sitting and on tummy
  • Reaches for a dangling toy or feet with wrist rattles or colorful socks and mouths objects
  • Progresses to supported sitting on Boppy, in lap or in highchair

6 to 8 Months

  • Independently changes positions through rolling and gets into and out of sitting and all fours
  • Bangs toys together
  • Responds to sounds by making sounds
  • Uses voice to express joy or displease
  • Interested in mirror images
  • Tracks a moving object

8 to 10 Months

  • Will no longer stay where you place him/her
  • Pulls to stand and upright play in standing at supports
  • Creeps (“crawls” on all fours)Takes sideways steps at furniture
  • Transfers objects between hands
  • Bangs objects together
  • Pokes index finger
  • Feeds self cracker
  • Holds bottle
  • Waves “bye-bye”

10 to 12 Months

  • Tries to step away from supports
  • Rolls a ball
  • Throws objects and drops and picks up objects
  • Grasps objects with thumb and index finger
  • This is a great time for push toys, playing in standing while popping bubbles, and walking while holding their hands.

Some toys and infant equipment that should not be used regularly and might impede development include bucket seats, jumpers, walkers, and standing bouncers.

Above all, love and enjoy your baby.

Your pediatrician is a great resource for any questions or concerns about playing with your child that you may have.