From the time your baby is inside your womb to the time they’re born, they are developing their senses—their senses of touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight, respectively. But as soon as they’re out, they rely heavily on sight to learn more about the world.
How can you help your newborn develop their eyesight? In this blog, we will learn the importance of visual stimulus, its stages, and how to support the healthy development of your baby’s vision.
Importance of Visual Stimulus
Babies learn from what they see. This is especially true for young kids, who are still learning to process information and make sense of their surroundings. A recent study has shown that visual stimulus is especially important for babies, as it helps them to develop cognitively and emotionally.
Babies exposed to various visual stimuli show significantly more cognitive development than those who are not. They learn to track objects with their eyes, identify patterns, and make connections between different concepts. The study showed that even just a few minutes of visual stimulus exposure could positively impact a baby’s development.
What Your Baby Sees From 0 to 12 Months
In the first year, your little one develops all of their cognitive functions fast. From being nearsighted at birth, they will learn to recognize shapes, colors, and faces over time.
For every stage, what does your little one see?
Essentially, it’s their first time opening their eyes, so everything is blurry more than 30 cm away from them. Also, their retinas aren’t fully developed at this stage, and they can only see whites, blacks, and greys.
If you want to give your baby some visual lessons, start by talking to them closely so they can focus better, establishing familiarity. You can introduce black and white drawings of animals or use a mobile crib while they lie on their crib mattresses.
4 to 8 Weeks
Your baby will begin to focus on objects better and see more colors. In addition, they will be able to identify primary colors, so you will notice that they react to bright colors—especially in moving objects.
To encourage this development, you can add reds, blues, or yellows in the room or read them books with high contrast illustrations.
3 to 5 Months
You may notice that your baby seems to be particularly interested in nearby objects. This is because depth perception, the ability to see objects in three dimensions, is beginning to develop.
Aside from distinguishing objects nearer and further away, your baby develops gross motor skills and object permanence. For example, your baby may start to reach for nearby objects and try to grasp them. This is because the muscles in their hands are getting stronger, and they can control their movements better.
Most babies love to play peek-a-boo, which is a great way to encourage them to search for partially concealed toys. Using a blanket, box, or egg carton, place a few of their favorite toys inside and let them explore.
As they lift the blanket or open the box, they’ll be delighted to find their favorite toy hidden away. This simple game is a great way to help your baby develop their problem-solving skills and learn how to search for hidden objects.
6 to 9 Months
Most babies are born with the ability to see in three dimensions, but their vision will not yet be fully developed. In this stage, their color vision improves, although it’s still far from an adult level.
At their eighth month, your infant will start crawling. Crawling helps babies learn to coordinate their visual and motor skills. They learn to keep an eye on moving objects and perhaps even reach for them. This coordination is important for future development, including learning how to read and write.
At 12 months old, babies can track fast-moving objects. This means they can follow a ball as it rolls across the floor or follow a bird as it flies through the air. This helps them to develop their visual tracking skills to follow an object with their eyes.
So, if you want your kids to get the best start in life, provide them with plenty of opportunities to see the world around them. Take them for walks in the park, show them pictures and books, and let them explore their surroundings. The more they see, the more they will learn.
Get Most Out of Playtime with This Baby Play Mat
You have a complete set of musical toys, an activity gym, and books to further your young child’s visual development, but you are missing an important baby play product—a foam play mat. Play foam mats are a great way to create a safe, soft place for your kids. They’re a must so you can enjoy nurturing your child’s eyesight.
We highly suggest you go for bold, contrasting foam baby play mats. Bold colors, like black, white and red, are particularly effective in helping babies to see clearly and develop their vision.
One way to provide strong visual stimulation for your baby is to use bold stripes on your foam play mats. The strong contrast between the colors will help your baby’s eyes to focus, developing their vision. So, if you want to give your little one a head start in seeing the world clearly, don’t be afraid to go bold!
What to Look For in a Play Foam Mat
Whether your baby is lying on their back or doing tummy time, they deserve the best baby play mat. But what does it look like?
- Modular pieces or one piece: Some mats split into puzzle pieces and have pop-out shapes or letters that help babies recognize letters and objects early on. Others are foldable that can be rolled or folded for easy storage. And still, others come equipped with built-in fences so toys, mirrors, or removable pieces can stay inside the space.
- Washing method: Baby play mats help to protect your floor from spills and messes. When cleaning up, most baby play mats need to be sponged off with gentle cleaning wipes or a damp cloth. However, with modular play mats, you can easily remove and clean the dirty pieces individually.
- Material: Puzzle play mats made with formamide may release harmful chemicals into the air over time, which can be dangerous for little kids to breathe in. Some studies have also linked formamide exposure to cancer in animals. For these reasons, choosing a play mat made of XPE foam is important.
- Size, shape, and thickness: The baby play mat size should be based on the size of the room where it will be used and the number of babies who will be playing on it. The shape should be based on the activity you want your baby to engage in. For example, if you want your baby to crawl and explore, a mat with interesting contours and borders will encourage this.
Get a High Contrast Play Mat from Ashtonbee
At Ashtonbee, we offer play mats that are perfect for keeping your little one entertained.
Whether you choose foam tiles for a baby play mat, or play mats that can be easily stored,you can guarantee that your young child will have a safe and fun journey exploring the world. Not only are these foam play mats colorful and fun, but they also provide important visual stimuli for your baby.
Make sure you get the most out of playtime with one of our versatile and stimulating baby play mats. Check out our selection today!