At birth your baby’s vision is one of his least developed senses, but there are little ways you can help your baby’s sight on its way. Here are 10 simple ways to stimulate your baby’s eyesight.
1. Pull faces
Newborns find facial expressions enthralling and fascinating. That’s why you’ll often catch people (usually granny) holding a newborn for the first time pulling all manner of funny faces. You might feel daft doing it, but this is great visual stimulation for your baby. A newborn baby’s sight can only focus from around 20 to 30cms away which is the perfect distance for them to see the face of whoever is holding them. So hold your baby close and pull as many happy and funny expressions as you can.
2. Focus on the eyes
Making eye contact with your baby is crucial for their visual development. Babies are great mimics and you may even find that your baby tries to imitate your facial expressions when you make eye contact and sing and talk to them. This is great for stimulating early cognitive function as well as discovering your baby’s unique sense of humour.
3. Maximise on monochrome
By around one month of age your baby can see in colour but is not able to distinguish between different shades. Stimulate your baby’s sight with some high-contrast bold, black and white toys and picture books and watch the reaction.
4. Introduce primary colours
When do baby’s see colour? At two months of age your baby's vision will have developed enough to tell the difference between bright colours. Now is a good time to introduce brightly coloured toys and books. You might find that your baby is more stimulated by primary colours such as red, yellow and blue and also enjoys looking at different shapes and patterns.
5. Encourage reaching and grabbing
At four months old your baby begins to comprehend distance and can even judge how far away a favourite toy is. This is a great time to introduce mobiles and other dangling toys that can be reached and grabbed from the car seat/buggy/cot. This is a great foundation for that all important hand eye coordination.
6. Play hide and seek
If you think five months is a little young for a game of hide and seek, you’d be wrong. By now your baby’s sight development is reasonably advanced. If you partially hide an object such as a favourite soft toy on a low shelf or under a cushion, your little explorer will take great delight in finding it. Also, try slowly moving a favourite toy around in front of your baby’s face and watch how he tracks it with his eyes.
7. Play who’s who
By eight months your baby’s powers of memory and recognition are in full swing. Spend some cosy time showing him photographs of familiar family members to see if he can recognise and point to them. You’ll be surprised just how much information your little one has been taking in!
8. Get out and about
Don’t be confined to your home. Outdoor stimulation is incredibly important for baby’s development and your baby will learn from new and unfamiliar surroundings. When out and about, be sure to point out different sights and objects from dogs and trees to planes and autumn leaves, it’s all rich visual stimulation for infants.
9. Stimulate sight with food
Weaning isn’t just about getting used to eating solid foods. Experiencing different coloured foods in various shapes and sizes is also hugely beneficial for your baby’s visual development. Where possible let your baby try and feed himself so he can get to grips with all the different shapes and colours as well as practice hand-eye coordination.
10. Play with mirrors
Prop a baby safe mirror next to the cot, or sit baby on your lap facing the mirror and show her the different parts of his face – nose, eyes, mouth, ears etc. Looking at his reflection helps your baby learn how to focus, track images and discover her own facial expressions. Mirror play also encourages social and emotional development.