Infants are born with a limited ability to see, but in just a few months their vision develops to a near-adult level of clarity. Developing vision is a process as the muscles in the eyes grow stronger and begin to focus and the brain learns to interpret the visual information sent from the eyes. These are a some of the things you can do to help your baby develop important visual skills.
• At birth – Although very young babies can only focus up close, they can see the contrast between light and dark. Chose colors for the nursery that are bright and contrasting to hold your baby’s interest. Babies will often notice new objects, so be sure to add things to the room or move them to encourage your baby to look around. Infants are less sensitive to bright light than older babies, so leave a nightlight on to help your baby examine her world when she wakes up in the night. Hang a brightly colored mobile over the crib and chose bright colors for rattles and other toys.
• Four months – By this age, your baby will probably be following objects with her eyes and starting to reach for the things she sees. Her depth perception is developing, so at first she may have a hard time touching what she reaches for. Games including patty-cake and peek-a-boo can help her develop visual skills at this age. Hang touch toys in easy reach in the crib. You can also move the crib in her room to give her a different view, and change the direction she faces when you put her down. Alternate right and left sides when you touch and play with her to help her recognize and use both sides of her body. Talk to her as you move around the room to encourage her to track you.
• Six months – By six months old, your baby will be eager to grab for things and will probably try to put them in her mouth. Since her eye-hand coordination is improving, she will succeed at this more often than you might like. Your baby will want to explore what she sees by crawling to objects and touching the textures.