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Beyond flash card : how to do the infant visual stimulation in fun and creative ways.

Babies learn about the environment surrounding them through five
senses: vision, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting. Of those five
senses, vision is the least developed sense a baby has at birth.

Therefore, it is important for parents to help their babies to ‘perfect’ their
vision during the first few months of their baby’s life.

Babies who do not receive adequate visual stimulation may never get good vision. Or
they may develop it slowly. In contrast, babies who are stimulated
develop good vision faster. Having a good vision early is important since this will put the baby in a
competitive edge. Why ? Because vision provides the baseline of
other area of development. It enhances curiosity, attentiveness, concentration and most importantly, cements bonding between parents and the baby.

So, what can a parent do to help perfect their baby’s vision ?
Parents can accelerate and optimize the development of their babies’ vision
by providing a variety of visual input. When a baby receives visual stimulation, the vision-related nerve
cells , which initially are not well connected, start
to form a lot of connection with other nerve cells. This will finally make the baby’s eyes
to thrive, enabling the baby to see better.

Newborn baby.

First, let’s see what the research says. Research has found that
newborn’s eyes register contrasting color such as white, black and red the best. So the best way to
stimulate your baby’s eyes is by exposing your baby to as much dark and
light as possible.

Try these following activities:
- Show your baby light and dark contrasting toys including the ones attached to the baby mobiles, wrist rattles and other educational baby toys.
- Show books with pictures which have contrasting colors.
- And if you don't mind to go a bit overboard, surround your baby with objects which have contrasting colors. These may include: bedding, play area and even yourself. Yes, you can actually wear shirts with stripes when tending your baby.

But wait,

research has also shown that newborn can only focus their eyes on objects between 8-12 inches away from them. Therefore, try to stay within that boundary when you interact with your baby.

Beyond newborn.

Around 2 months, your baby will be able to move from highly contrasting colors to bright bold colors. Your baby will also enjoy faces and is ready to see a moving object in addition to the stationary one.

Here are some activities to try:

- Activity with the play gym or baby mobiles: place your baby on her back and put the play gym or baby mobile on her. Move the toys like a pendulum.
- Activity with rattle or other objects: move the baby rattle from left to right, or up and down.
- Mirror: show your baby her face. Enhance this activity by pointing her facial features and talk about them.

When your baby’s around 5 months, train your baby’s eyes to focus even more.

These following exercises will assist your baby to develop concentration and enhance the curiousity .
- Play the peekaboo with your baby.
- Play with a yo yo and encourage your baby to see the yo yo movement.
- Dribble or throw a ball. Encourage your baby to follow the ball's movement. .
- Follow-a-spool activity: roll a spool of thread towards your baby and then move it to the opposite direction (i.e. farther from her). Let your baby's eyes follow the movement.
- Put a little ball or marble inside a big bowl. Tilt the bowl and move it around, so that the ball moves around the bowl. Show this to your baby and let your baby's eyes follow the movement.
- Play a simple hide and seek game with your baby.

If your baby has been properly visually stimulated, by 8 months, your baby should have completed her visual development and has a good vision.

About the Author

Dian Dewi is a mom and webmaster of Best Child Toys, a website which provides guidance on how to choose toys which are fun, safe and educational. This website also contains tips on how to use toys to maximize child's development.