Magic of Everyday Moments - Chart on everyday ways to learn (birth -2 months)

Based on content from ZERO TO THREE®: National Center for Infants, Toddler and Families.

For every age range, there are important developmental milestones. Learn "What to expect" and "What you can do" to enrich your baby's learning through everyday routines and interactions.

What to expect between birth and 2 months

I Need Support

What To Expect:
A newborn's head is large in proportion to the rest of his body. In fact, until his neck muscles develop over the next 6 weeks, he couldn't possibly support it on his own.

What You Can Do:

  • Make certain to support his neck and head whenever you're lifting him or laying him down; and make sure that his car seat and stroller are set at an angle that will keep his head from flopping forward.
  • Help strengthen those neck muscles with lots of games that involve moving his eyes (and, eventually, his head) from side to side (known as "tracking") while he's propped up or lying on his back. When he focuses on a toy, move it back and forth above him.

So Much To Hear

What To Expect:
Research shows that infants are great listeners. By 1 month they connect sounds with their sources, and their favorite sound of all is the human voice.

What You Can Do:

  • Make it a point to talk to your infant about everything. "Now I'm going to take off that wet diaper." "Daddy is starving. What should I eat?" Remember though, if your baby turns away when you're talking, it may be her way of saying, "Quiet please."
  • Be attentive to what kind of sounds your baby likes best. Some infants love music with strong beats, while others prefer softer melodies. And don't be shy about singing. No matter how in or out of tune, she'll like your voice best of all.

So Much To See

What To Expect:
For the first 2 months, your infant will focus best on things that are 8 to 12 inches from his eyes - just the distance of your face during feeding.

What You Can Do:

  • Hold your baby's toys in that optimal vision range, and try to find toys that have high contrast (black and white) and bright colors.
  • Play lots of tracking games that involve moving an object slowly from side to side while you're talking to your baby. If he's awake and alert, he'll follow with his eyes.
  • Respect your baby's cues. He'll tell you when he needs a break by turning away or crying.

Hold Everything

Newborns have great grips but they can't intentionally hold on to things. They grasp on to things that you put in their palm because of a reflex that they're born with.

What You Can Do:

  • Try to find toys that make gentle sounds when they move. The sound will draw your baby's attention to the toy and to his hands.
  • Safety is priority number 1! Make sure all objects are too big to fit in his mouth.