How Well Can A Baby See and How Can We Help

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Vision is one of the newborn major sources of information about the world. Visual stimulation can produce developmental advantages including enhanced curiosity, attentiveness and concentration. Most newborn babies can focus on and follow slow-moving objects. They can differentiate between high-contrast colors and shapes such as faces.

“The most potent visual stimulus in the infant’s environment is, by far, the mothers emotionally expressive face…”
Dr. Alan Schore, University of California, Los Angeles

The First Critical Period (0-6 months)
Early on, babies most easily notice movement and high- contrast patterns, and see best about 9-12 inches away. By 2 months of age, your baby will especially like to look at your face and expressions.

How I can help…

  • Expose your baby to visually stimulating objects with bright, high-contrast colors (red, white) and patterns. A bright mobile cube can be hung at the side of the cot, or held up at eye level to captivate your baby’s attention.
  • Hold your baby in a comfortable position and use the mobile for games. Move the mobile about 9-12 inches away from your baby’s eyes for her to track or follow.
  • Introduce mirrors to help develop self-image. In time, she will learn to smile, make sounds and recognize that what she is seeing is her own reflection.

The Second Critical Period (6-12 months)
Your baby is visually alert for almost half of her waking hours, and can use her eyes to follow objects at many distances and speeds. She now has clearer vision of single images, and better depth perception.

How I can help…

  • Smile at your baby. Be playful and make faces while you look into a mirror together.
  • Talk a lot, raise your eyebrows and move your mouth!
  • Share large picture books that contain bright colors like red and white with simple shapes.

Vision is obviously an important part of learning. Almost 80 percent of what a child learns in school comes to her visually.

With proper stimulation, you can help your baby develop her vision, which in turn, will aid in her future hand-eye coordination, memory retention and increase her attention span. All these advancements will lead to better learning capabilities in toddlerhood.

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