So, we have already given you a peek at your baby’s first-year growth and developmental milestones.

You are probably consulting with your child’s doctor at the necessary intervals and tracking their language, emotional, physical and mental growth. But have you ever wondered, what you as a father can do to help your baby along?

At Daddy’s Digest, we firmly believe that fathers play a pivotal role and we have put together a list of things you can do to help your baby’s development.

Please remember, there are many more things that can be done to encourage and support development. This is a father focused list and accounts for limitations based on work schedules and factors in your wife/partners active involvement.

At 2 Months You Can

  • Cuddle, talk and play with your baby during dressing and bathing.
  • Get in tune with your baby’s likes and dislikes.
  • Act excited and smile when your baby makes a sound.
  • Copy your baby’s sound sometimes but also use clear language.
  • Pay attention to your baby’s different cries.
  • Talk, read and sing to your baby.
  • Play and help your baby play peek-a-boo.
  • Give your baby tummy time.
  • Hold a toy or a rattle above your baby’s head and encourage them to reach for it.

At 4 Months You Can

  • Hold and talk to your baby; smile and be cheerful when you do.
  • Pay close attention to their likes and dislikes.
  • Copy your baby’s sounds.
  • Act excited and smile when your baby makes sounds.
  • Talk, read and sing to your baby.
  • Play peek-a-boo.
  • Give age-appropriate toys such as rattles and colorful pictures.
  • Provide safe opportunities for your baby to reach for toys and explore their surroundings.

At 6 Months You Can

  • Play on the floor with your baby every day.
  • Learn to read your baby’s mood. Do things your baby likes and comfort your baby if they don’t like something.
  • Use “reciprocal” play. Smile if they smile, copy them if they make a sound.
  • Talk, read and sing to your baby.
  • When your baby looks at something, point to it and talk about it.
  • If your baby drops a toy on the floor, pick it up. This teaches them cause and effect.
  • Point out new things and name them.

At 9 Months You Can

  • Continue to do things your baby likes.
  • Pay attention to how they react to new situations and people.
  • Say what you think your baby is feeling. E.g. “You are sad, how can we make you feel better”.
  • Describe objects they are looking at. E.g. “Big Blue Ball”.
  • Copy your baby’s sounds & words
  • Ask for behaviors you want. E.g. Instead of saying “don’t stand”, say “it’s time to sit”.
  • Read and talk to your baby.
  • Play peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek.

At 12 Months/1Year You Can

  • In response to unwanted behavior say “no” firmly. Do not yell, spank or give long explanations.
  • Give your child lots of hugs, kisses and praise for good behavior.
  • More encouragement, less discouragement.
  • Talk to your baby about what you are doing, when you are doing it.
  • Talk, read and sing to your baby.
  • Play with safe toys that encourage the use of hands.
  • Sing songs with actions. E.g. “Itsy Bitsy Spider”.
  • Encourage your child to make noise.

For more information on First Year Baby Development Concerns.

This information has been curated from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC. Always consult with a qualified medical professional or childcare expert when taking important decisions regarding your child and their health.

Impress your partner with key facts, take better co-parenting decisions and be 'in the know'. Visit our Partners & Parents resource center for more.


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