BABY RATTLES: HOW TO INTRODUCE A RATTLE

a teacher holds a baby rattle close so baby can look at it

baby holds a rattle

BABY RATTLES AND MOTOR SKILL DEVELOPMENT

One of the first motor skills developed during baby’s first year is grasping and reaching.  It develops quite quickly as baby sees objects that interest her.  Her curiosity motivates her to reach out and grab the object to explore it with her own hands.  She likes to see if she can create the sound she hears when mom shakes the rattle.  She uses her arm to shake the toy and she touches the colorful pieces with her fingers.  Parents quickly accumulate a collection of baby rattles and toys to provide entertainment for baby.  One interesting toy can keep baby busy for quite awhile.  The rattles reflect a variety of stimulating features:  bright colors, soft fabric, moving parts, ringing bells, swishing sand, animal faces, and much more.  There is no limit to the market of imaginative and entertaining baby toys.

BABY EYESIGHT AND MOTOR SKILL DEVELOPMENT

Often a caregiver holds out a toy for baby and quickly shakes it a few times and then watches to see if baby immediately grabs it.  When it appears that baby hesitates, the parent or nanny rejects the toy and offers a new one. He or she often thinks: “You don’t like this one, how about this one?  Or this one?”  This cycle repeats a few times until the parent or nanny gives up and just sets a toy next to baby.  This pattern reflects how fast-paced our society is today and how quickly adults process information with our hands and eyes.  It is important to remember that baby is still learning to see objects and to coordinate her body actions.  It takes time for baby to see the object, focus on it, and to develop an interest in it.  This process takes time.  Only when she is curious about the baby rattle will she develop the motivation to reach out and grasp it.   Give her time.

3 TIPS FOR INTRODUCING A BABY RATTLE TO AN INFANT

  1. Give her time to focus on the rattle with her eyes.  Hold it close to her so she can see it.  The younger babies usually need a bit more time since their eyesight is less developed.
  2. Move the rattle a bit so she sees the bright colors or hears the sound.  Babies see moving objects more clearly than still ones.  For some babies it helps to make the sound gently and for others a quick and loud sound is intriguing.  Shake the toy and pause.  Shake the toy and pause.  Give her time to figure out that this object is making this sound.
  3. Invite the baby to try shaking the rattle.  Ask, “Would you like to try it?”  or “Would you like to hold it?”  The tone of your voice lets them know that they can hold it.  It reassures them.  This is useful when the motor skill of reaching and grasping is very new to baby.

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