You may think of your infant as a work of art, but not as a young artist who is ready to create one!  Science shows that a stimulating visual environment is important for helping to build healthy brains.  So, right from the beginning, fill your infant's world with pictures, colors, shapes, textures and patterns.


IMPORTANT NOTE TO PARENTS: Never leave your child unattended during arts and crafts projects.  Use art materials that are nontoxic and watch that your child does not put art materials in his or her mouth.


Actual involvement in art helps develop your child's young brain and motor skills.  So, as your child nears her fifth or sixth month, think about getting her started in art projects.  If she can hold a small toy or play with her food in the high chair, she is probably ready to create her first work of art.

Brain Science for Your Baby


What can your baby really see?  Newborn babies generally can't focus beyond 6 to 10 inches away - so get close!  Even infants a few days old can distinguish their own mother's face from other faces.  The infant visual system is "use it or lose it".  Your baby needs to have good visual input for the part of the brain that processes vision to grow and develop properly.  By six months, your baby will be able to see nearly as well as you do!  Most researchers think that by 5- 6 months babies have good color vision too! 


More on vision milestones 


Some ideas on visual stimuli

A Baby Buffer Prescription for Your Baby
 Baby's first art project: Finger Painting. 
Smearing is a talent!  Finger painting is a great place to start his art career. Infants learn about textures and movements through finger painting.  Enjoying the different effects his hand movements have on the paint is helping your child's brain grow.
Edible paints.  Don't avoid painting with your child because you are afraid that he'll eat more art than he creates. Just make your own edible finger paints out of food products, to help your child explore. For example, fill a few paper cups with yogurt or vanilla pudding. Add a few drops of food color to each to create a color palette of paints. 


Crayons, next? After a few masterpieces are created with finger paint, try moving on to crayon.  Let your infant explore what happens when he touches the paper with the crayon.  

A baby Buffer Prescription for You   


Safety: Make sure that your child is well supervised as she works, yet allow her to explore freely.


Communicate: Never ask your child what she is making.  Praise her effort.  Describe what you see, like numbers, shapes or colors.


Keep the activity short. A young child can't sit still and pay attention for very long.


Art is messy. Reduce your stress by covering surfaces with newsprint ahead of time. When you're finished, roll up the newsprint and throw the mess away.  Young budding artist can always be washed or bathed!





What Your Baby Can Do - Developmental Milestones 


Your baby will love being held and touched by you from the very beginning, this is the beginning of your relationship with your baby. Click on the links below to find out what your baby should be able to do:

Baby Buffer Blog
Written by Greta McFarland, MD, FAAP, aka "Gene"

Selfishness: is your child ever self-absorbed? Well, we hope so, since that is in the "kid job-description" for the first 20 years. But learning to go from selfishness to selflessness doesn't just happen; it is an on-going, many-times-a day activity, where everyone has to give and take. So keep that selfish thought in mind while we explore two articles on habits and how they help families teach kids to go from being selfish to becoming selfless.


The first article was in the Journal of School Health where about 1000 5th-6th grade students' standardized test scores and family habits were analyzed.  The kids with the best test scores had the following habits: no bedroom TV, healthy weight, being physically fit, eating healthy foods with rare fast foods or sugar drinks, and getting over 8 hours of sleep. 


The second article in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that kids aged 10 to 14 who lived in homes with parents who had consistent rules for safety and had consequences and rewards for behaviors, were less likely to have sex at early ages, and they did better in school.  

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