Thankfully, your baby doesn't need to go to the gym, take exercise classes, or have a personal trainer for the joyful habit of physical activity to become a natural part of his life! All he needs is time to do what children do best - play!

  • Once your baby is able to sit on his own, his exercise is simply doing what comes naturally, such as bouncing up and down to music or clapping to songs you sing together, as well as learning how to walk.

Infants and toddlers are discovering how their bodies work through "exercising" them. Exercise builds your baby's muscles, increases his coordination, helps him fight infections, and stimulates his little mind, just as it does for grownups!

Brain Science for Your Baby


Being mobile exercises not only your baby's muscles - but her brain!  Researchers have found that when babies start crawling, they develop increased spatial skills.  Before now your baby spent a lot of time in one place.  Once your baby starts crawling she'll have to keep her desired destination in her mind as she moves.  She'll need to plan a route and she'll have to navigate around obstacles.  All of this increases spatial skills and spatial memory (Clearfield, 2004). 


More on crawling (and keeping your little explorer safe)

A Baby Buffer Prescription for Your Baby

When your baby is born, he is totally dependent on you for things he needs to be healthy. As he grows through the first year of life, he can experience a taste of independence through his own play and movement.


For example, if he cries for you to help him get down once he stands up, don't just pick him up and plop him down. Instead, show him how to bend his knees so he can sit down without toppling over, and let him give it a try himself. Praise his doing so on his own by hugging him after his "performance"!


Make sure your baby has a safe environment in which to practice walking. Keeping the floor space clear will help him to walk around easily.


Childproof your home and never leave your baby alone, in case he falls or needs your help.


Give your child a toddle truck or a similar toy that he can hold onto and push. Look for toddle toys that are stable and have a wide base of support.

As your baby learns to walk, keep his feet as free as possible. If cramped by tight shoes or socks, your baby's feet can't straighten out and grow properly.

A baby Buffer Prescription for You        


Limit infants' screen time.  All physical activity-which little ones just think of as active play, such as running, jumping, climbing, clapping, etc.-keeps children from the harmful effects of screen time. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, infants and toddlers should limit the time spent in front of televisions, computers, self-described educational games and even being exposed to grown-up shows playing in the background.  Video screen time provides no educational benefits for children under age 2, the Academy experts say, and leaves less room for activities that do, such as interacting with other people and playing.


Get relaxation, better mood, and clear thinking...all at once! Moving our bodies can bring you up when you're feeling down or overwhelmed, as well as help you relax. Your most creative ideas and solutions to problems may also come when you are exercising.


So, as you are watching your baby stretch, twist, pivot, and figure out walking, touch your toes and do some sit-ups, as well. Doing so will be good for your body and your mind!



What Your Baby Can Do - Developmental Milestones 


Learning to walk is one of the most important achievements in your baby's life, as it's big a step towards independence. Here's a brief timeline of the path to walking that is followed by most babies during 6-12 months of age:


  • After learning to roll over, sit and crawl-through sheer practice, coordination and muscle strength-your baby's muscles will continue to strengthen. Between eight and 10 months he will probably start trying to pull himself up to stand while holding onto furniture.
  • As your baby gets better at standing, he'll start to cruise (moving around upright while holding onto furniture). He may then feel confident enough to let go of any support and stand unaided. Once your baby is ready to let go of the furniture, he may be able to take steps when you hold his hands.
  • At nine or 10 months, your baby will begin to work out how to bend his knees and learn to sit after standing.
  • By 11 months, your baby will probably be able to stand without support, stoop, and squat. By 12 months, he may walk while gripping your hand, though he may not take his first steps alone for a little while longer. Most babies make those early strides on tiptoe with their feet turned outward.
  • At about 13 months, your baby may be walking on his own, but probably a bit unsteadily. If your baby still hasn't stopped cruising, it just means walking on his own is going to take a little longer. Some children don't walk until they are 17 or 18 months old.


Every baby develops at his own rate, so don't be alarmed if your baby is not reaching these milestones to prepare him for walking. Talk about your concerns with his healthcare provider. 

Gene's Research Tip of the Week

Is TSK (That Special Kid) "on the job"?  If he or she seems to be playing a lot, then YES! Playing is TSK's job, and we hope he/she makes a great career of it, during these first few years!


Thinking is a complicated process, and involves lots of brain areas.  Some brain areas can't think as hard or as fast until TSK gets older, but, YOU, the parent can help that brain by the way you play with TSK. 


The science behind Playing and Brain Development:

Input: Information gets into the brain by the senses: Vision, Hearing, and Touch

Processing: The information goes all over the brain to processing centers to be understood and combined with emotions and other memories

Output: The actions, words and thoughts that TSK has developed from the experience.  These are generally divided into the following:

  • Muscle Activities - The "Doing Stuff"(Gross Motor- the big muscles, and Fine Motor - the fingers and hands)
  • Language - "The Talking Things"
  • Emotional-Social - "The Feeling and Behavior Parts" 

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