Child Development 0-6 Months

During its first half year, the child is completely dependent on you, and develops together with you and others who are close. The child learns to use his senses and seeks more and more contact. First by screaming and then more with smiles, cries and dinghy. The child becomes more stable in the body and can increasingly control his movements with the will.

All children are unique and have their own development. But there are some characteristics and needs that are common and typical for most children in an age group. These are described here.

It can vary greatly in how children develop. To understand and recognize your child, you may also need to read about the child’s development for 6-12 months .

Here is more information about the very first time with the child. There is information about, among other things, food, sleep and taking care of and protecting the child. There are also films about how it can be as a parent right at the beginning.

Development is going fast at different periods

During the first year of life, the child develops at a faster rate than ever later in life. The development is different at different times and can vary greatly from child to child, even between siblings.

When the child learns new things, the child can sometimes become anxious and change their mood. They may need more closeness than before.

A child’s development is affected by many circumstances. There are individual conditions and events that can affect how a child develops, both in the short and longer term. For example, it may be if the child is born prematurely, has a disability or is involved in a major change in life.

You need to be active in the child’s development

The child is completely dependent on adults. You and others who are closest to the child are very important for how the child feels, develops and relates to their surroundings. They are influenced by how you approach, encourage and give them what they need.

The child feels safe when adults care and understands what the child needs. Among other things, it is about them having to eat, sleep, be close and socialize.

0-2 months Feelings and feelings

Man has five senses. They are these:

  • smell
  • taste
  • feel
  • hearing
  • sight.

Most children can use all five senses right after birth. No mind is fully developed, but some senses are more mature than others.

Newborn babies especially use their minds to keep in touch with you, and to show what they need.

Smell and taste

Smell and taste work well from birth.

A newborn child responds to smells and tastes. Children quickly learn to recognize their parent’s odor. The smell of breast milk can cause the baby to go to the nipple. The child prefers sweet, mild scents and flavors over bitter, sour, salty and bitter.

What the child appreciates is also influenced by what the mother ate during pregnancy. In the breast milk, the child can recognize the flavors that have been absorbed in the stomach.

Feel

The feeling is completely developed at birth. For example, the child feels touch completely and has a great need for contact and security by being close. It is important for the child to be close to skin and to be caressed.

A newborn baby feels full heat, cold and pain. In addition, newborn infants often feel more pain than older children. But right at birth, the baby has some natural pain relief from the hormone endorphins that form in the baby’s body during childbirth.

Hearing

Most children perceive sounds well from birth. Of all the senses, newborn babies are the best at hearing. The child can hear where sounds come from just days after birth. Newborn children reflexively turn their heads to sound.

Towards the end of the first month, the hearing is usually fully developed. The child can distinguish between different types of sounds and can hear human speech and noise in different ways.

Newborns seem to prefer bright voices over dark voices. Many adults also unconsciously speak with a lighter voice when interacting with young children.

The child does not like sharp and sudden sounds, and becomes calm by rhythmic and harmonic tones.

The sight

At birth, vision is the least developed mind in the child. The eyes have been closed inside the uterus and when the child starts to use his eyes they only see clear contrasts and movements.

At first, children look blurred. They look best at about 20 centimeters. It’s about the same distance as between your faces, when you hold the baby in your arms. Children enjoy looking at faces, especially the eyes and mouth.

A newborn child looks at the faces for longer than other things. The child is usually able to fix his gaze briefly on something that is lit, such as a lamp. But the look is usually quite unsteady.

The vision develops quickly and already during the first months most children can follow an object with a steadier gaze and also provide eye contact.

The child prefers to look at patterns with sharp contrasts and things that move frequently.

Young children appreciate bright and happy colors, preferably colors that are in contrast to each other. Bright colors such as yellow, red and blue are clearer to the child.

When children are between one and two months old, they can see colors as well as adults can.

Emotions

It takes time to develop different emotions, such as joy, surprise, fear and anger. The earliest feelings that children can have are more about wanting to be close to things that seem nice and to get away from things that seem unpleasant.

In the event of sudden noises or when someone or something is rapidly approaching the child’s face, newborn children may want to pull away, or react with surprised mine or cry.

When the child smiles

When the child is feeling well they can smile with a so-called reflex smile. A reflex is triggered by itself. It may happen that children smile with a reflex smile when they are newborn.

When the child is about five to six weeks, the child can sometimes give you a smile when you smile at them. This is an early form of joy.

Children show a lot of what they need

For the first time, you need to help the child manage what they feel and need. The child is too immature to handle it on his own.

The child uses their senses to show what they need. Some children show clearly, and other children less clearly.

When you understand what the child is showing, you can make it easier for the child. For example, it will be easier for the child to get food when hungry or to get a new diaper when needed.

Tips on what you can do

Here are some tips on what can be fun at this age:

  • Children enjoy smells, tastes and feeling skin to skin. Try putting a parenting garment next to the child if they are worried. But when the child is asleep, no loose cloth or pillows should be near the child.
  • Give a little massage by rubbing the entire baby’s body with a soft towel after the bath. Tell us what you do, for example, that you dry them with a soft or rough towel, or that the towel is dry or damp. Let the child know how it can be different.
  • Hang a toy box near a place where the child usually is, for example at the changing table.
  • Hang a moving figure, a so-called mobile, over the child’s bed. The child mostly likes sharp contrasts such as white and black and patterns of circles, dots, squares or stripes. At this age, the child can concentrate on the same thing for between five and ten seconds. Therefore, it is good to have something that is constantly moving.

0-2 months How the child communicates

Children can seek contact by using voice, eye contact and body language.

Different when and how children want eye contact

Children of this age can both seek eye contact and choose to end it. It is different from child to child how much eye contact they give.

Children who look at you may want to hang out and have contact with you.

Children who look away or have hands on their face may want to be at peace. She may be tired and need some rest.

The first sounds to create words

When children are about two months old, they can start to sound with pleasant cooing sounds. It sounds about “ooo”. It is the first step towards words.

Listen and watch to understand what the child wants

Listen to how the child sounds, watch how they look, how they move, and what the child does. This way you can understand how the child is feeling and what they want. A newborn baby can be stressed by many things. For example, it may be that they need to poop, that it is too hot or cold, that the child is sick, or that there are too many sharp loud noises in the environment.

The child learns by mimicking

The child learns to communicate, for example, by mimicking. The child can often mimic another person’s facial movements during the first weeks of life. However, as the movements and reactions are slow, it may take a while for the child to respond.

After a month or two, the ability to mimic facial movements usually disappears, and then come back some six months later.

The first smile to communicate

When the child is smiling it may be a reflex, a feeling or a way of communicating.

After a few weeks the child can give a smile when you have eye contact. Some time later, the child can start smiling just by seeing you, a sibling, or other relative.

Talk and tell

Talk to the child and tell, even if the child does not understand. The important thing is that the child gets a good feeling that you are socializing. It is developing and interesting for the child. For example, you can tell us what you see and experience. Children are then stimulated to try different sounds and it also makes it easier for you to get close contact.

The child would prefer to hear human voices in front of all other sounds. She recognizes the voices of her relatives well. From the beginning, children with the same interest respond to all languages. They prefer to hear words and sentences that have a soft rhythm.

The child responds with the whole body

When you talk or play with the child you can sometimes see how they respond by smiling, touching the body, screaming or using different sounds. Making your own sounds and listening to others speak is a way to prepare for talking yourself. The language sounds are stored long before the child begins to speak. The language’s melody is also learned at an early stage.

You often unconsciously adjust your voice position and distance to the child’s face according to what is right for the child.

Tips on what you can do

Here are some tips on what can be fun at this age:

  • When the child is looking for eye contact, you can lean forward so that your face is a few inches from the child. The child can then make small noises with his voice, smile at you, follow your face with your eyes and mimic your facial expressions and gestures.
  • Try to stretch your tongue at a distance of 20 centimeters, and the child may stretch out his or her own tongue. Open your mouth and blink with your eyes. Exaggerate your facial mimicry. Keep in mind that the child needs time to answer.
  • Put up a mirror at the changing table and let the child lie down and look at himself when you are with. The child can also, for short moments, lie on his stomach and look at himself in a mirror that is in front.
  • Seek eye contact, say the baby’s name and sing a little song for the baby.

Cry

Screaming is a way for children to communicate. They learn early to use different kinds of screams for different feelings and needs. It may take time before you learn how to understand what the child wants. It is different how much children scream.

It is common for newborn babies to have a period of time when they are more difficult to comfort. Often in the evening.

Sometimes it may not be possible to calm the child. Children are simply sad at times, for no apparent reason. It can feel frustrating, but you can help your child cope with being sad by comforting and being close.

Sometimes you may need to seek care

Contact a health care center if the child has one or more of these disorders:

  • Screaming intensely or at intervals.
  • Is sad much of the day.
  • Shouts a lot and eats poorly.
  • Screaming and not feeling well

0-2 months The body and how the child moves

A newborn baby has a large and heavy head in relation to his body. It takes a month for the child to balance his head for a little while. The child therefore needs support for the head of an adult hand.

The baby’s hands are tied for the first time and the body movements are unexpected and jerky.

Most newborns like to lie in a sort of fetal position on the side, with arms and legs pulled together next to the body. When the child is asleep, rest on his back, as it reduces the risk of sudden infant death . Let the baby lie on his stomach several times a day when awake so that the skull does not get too much load and becomes flat at the back. Vary the head position when the child is lying on his back, so that the child lies alternately with his head to the right and left.

The movements begin on the face and neck

The child’s ability to move develops at the earliest of the face and neck and then down to the arms, upper body and legs. In the first few months the child begins to lift his head and later turn it towards what catches his interest. At the end of this period, many children learn to raise their heads briefly while lying on their stomachs. When the child can have his legs outstretched back, he can see and move in a different way than before. The child is also training the neck and back muscles.

The child becomes increasingly mobile and can eventually turn to one side or the other when lying on his back. The hands start to open. The next step is for the child to stretch out his hands to touch things. But it will take another month before the child can, with his will, take any action.

The newborn’s reflexes

In newborn infants many movements are triggered by reflexes that occur automatically . They help the child survive and initiate some of the other development of the movement. The reflexes disappear when the child can control his movements more with his will.

Tips on what you can do

Here are some tips on what can be fun at this age:

  • Tell what you do when, for example, you dress the child. You can say, for example, that you gently bend the baby’s arms and legs to put on clothes.
  • Leave the baby alternately on his stomach and back on a thin mattress or thick blanket on the floor when awake. Use pillows, or buy or sew an elongated pillow that the child can use to support the body.

2-4 months Feelings and feelings

Now the child is becoming aware that they have their own body. It partially discovers the baby as it touches its fingers and toes. The child then gets a different feeling than when they touch a thing or another person.

During this period in the child’s life, it is common for the child to do this:

  • Begin to recognize things and people.
  • Begins to remember and expect to be involved in repetitive routines, such as bathing or changing diapers.
  • Begins to show emotions more clearly and can smile happily when they see a family member. The child can also get angry or sad when you lie in bed, for example.

Hearing

When children are completely newborn, they turn their heads reflexively towards sound. As the child gets older, this disappears. At the age of three, children can, with their will, direct their heads towards a sound, for example, against a parent’s voice. It may now happen that the child does not begin to smile until they see the parent talking or singing.

The sight

Most children start to look sharper and better. The eye movements become softer and more responsive. The child starts to play with his fingers in front of his eyes and looks so good that they can point his hand at something they want to grab. The gaze can follow something that moves a few meters away.

Tips on what you can do

Here are some tips on what can be fun at this age:

  • Allow the child to participate safely in what you do in everyday life. For example, it may be to be in the kitchen when cooking. It can give strong impressions of scent, sound and color. Tell us how the food and the various spices smell.
  • Have the child listen to music. If you play the same song several times, the child may learn to recognize the music. Please sing for the child.
  • Children enjoy feeling skin to skin, smells and tastes. Try putting a parenting garment next to the child if they are worried. But when the child is asleep, no loose pieces of cloth or pillows should lie near the child.
  • Use nature as a stimulus. Place the stroller under a tree where branches and leaves move in the wind. Let the child know about the leaves and other things found in nature.

The child eventually connects what they see, hear and feel and begin to remember what they have been through before. For example, the child becomes aware early on that the parents or other close relatives are different people because you smell, sound, touch and hold the child in different ways.

2-4 months How the child communicates

Now the child’s language and social ability are developed. The child wants to be in contact and communicate. Ideally, it should be face to face. The child wants to be in the same room and be able to see the parent. Then the child can make contact even if they are not sitting or lying in their arms.

A child who has not learned to speak still communicates with eye contact, touch, body language, faces, screams and other sounds.

During this period, it is common for the child to do this:

  • Expresses in vowels, tries different sounds and imitates certain sounds.
  • Enjoy when you smile or talk happily.
  • Reply by smiling or giving away some kind of dinghy. Sometimes this goes into tears. This is because the child quickly becomes tired of intensive contact and can show it by, for example, quickly crying, yawning, turning his head or closing his eyes. In the beginning, it is difficult to perceive fatigue.

At the end of this period, many may hear their child laugh for the first time.

Talking to each other is an inborn operation

Children have a developed language center in the brain before they are born. So talking to each other is an innate operation and not just a learned behavior. During their first years, children also have a unique ability to learn language and communication.

An hearing child needs to listen to the spoken language early with other people. The language sounds are input and stored long before the child begins to speak. The language’s melody is also learned at an early stage.

For a child who grows up with several languages, language development takes place in the same way as for children with a language. A multilingual child should learn more words and concepts, but that does not mean that it is more difficult to learn two languages ​​than one.

Tips on what you can do

Here are some tips on what can be fun at this age:

  • Please repeat certain routines so that the child learns to recognize them. For example, say a small rattle when changing diapers on the baby. The child can learn to recognize the frame and respond to it with arm movements and leg kicks.
  • Let the child experience the language in different ways. Play with words, such as how you emphasize certain words. Tell us what you just did, what you do and what to do. Tell us how you are feeling and how you think your baby is doing.
  • Smile or be happy when talking to the child. Then you also encourage the child to smile. It can create a nice feeling of being together.
  • Be clear when talking to your child. Use mimicry, gestures and repeating words. This ambiguity makes it easier for the child to understand.

2-4 months The body and how the baby moves

Now the child begins to gain more control over his body and movements begin to become more conscious. Some newborn reflexes disappear, such as the hand’s grip reflex.

During this period, it is common for the child to do this:

  • Trying to reach things and grasping with your whole hand.
  • Sucks on the hands or on toys they get in the hand.
  • Holds the head a little more steady and turns it almost in different directions.
  • Raises his head and almost leans on his forearms for a while while lying on his stomach.
  • Stretches the legs and kicks when lying on the stomach or back.

Tips on what you can do

Here are some tips on what can be fun at this age:

  • Let the baby lie on his stomach for shorter moments when awake. The child then has to practice lifting his head and chest. This can be, for example, in connection with diaper changes or when you dress for the child. The baby may also lie on your stomach against your body, for example against your chest.
  • Let the child reach for things that lie in front or hang above them.
  • Grab the hands and gently pull the child up to a sitting position while lying on his back. Support your head if needed.

4-6 months Feelings and feelings

Now the child is awake for longer moments and has more time to discover his surroundings. With the help of emotional impressions and experiences, the child creates memories. At this age, children can more clearly show who they want to be close to. They may no longer smile at anyone approaching.

At this age, it is common for the child to do this:

  • Begin to understand that they are their own person.
  • Become aware of their ability to influence other people, for example “if I cry, my dad will come”.
  • Can be reassured by just seeing you in the distance or hearing your voice.

Taste, feel and smell

The child examines by tasting, feeling and smelling. The child can examine your face with both his hands and mouth when you reach into his arms.

The child likes that

At this age, it is common for the child to do this:

  • Beginning to recognize things and situations.
  • Finds items that are partially hidden.
  • Enjoy sticking to and researching things.
  • Displays irritation when a toy disappears.

The child is trained to understand what can happen to them. For example, the child loses things with diligence to see what happens. In this way, the child also examines the relationship between cause and effect.

The sight

Now the child starts to be able to look in all directions and choose what they want to look at. The child learns to focus the gaze at different distances. Small things are usually exciting, such as dust jets, crumbs and ants.

Being with and having contact with the child

The child can expect to get a smile or sound back if they are smiling at you or making sounds directed at you. They can feel what emotion you are expressing and adapt their own emotions to it.

The child begins to get a feel for how you spend time. They respond a little more clearly to your initiatives and can play and “talk” for longer moments. Now it is easier for the child to decide for themselves what they are interested in. They can turn their attention to what is attractive, and turn away from what is less attractive.

The child needs that there is structure in everyday life, that you make sure they get both play and rest.

Give the child attention and show that you are extra happy when the child is happy. It teaches the child that positive feelings are interesting. It may make them easier to show more such feelings in the future. How the child gives you contact is influenced by you, the child’s innate qualities and other things, such as whether they are healthy or ill.

Tips on what you can do

Here are some tips on what can be fun at this age:

  • The child is often interested in his own mirror image. A child-safe mirror in plastic is usually fun.
  • Put a large white paper on the wall and paint the faces. Use blue, green, yellow and red.
  • Play look. The child does not understand that you are still there when you are hiding, but it is exciting when the things that disappear will come back.
  • Sometimes try to pull yourself back a little from the baby and let them know when you need to.
  • Have a stroller that is facing backwards so the child can have eye contact with you. Then you can communicate, the impressions are not too many and the child feels safe.
  • Build towers using small wooden blocks. Let the child tear the tower. Present large and small blocks in different colors. The child will perhaps taste, feel and choose the piece or pieces they want, not just the one closest to it.
  • Put pictures in different places on the wall around the changing table so that the child can look for them. The child understands photos first and then draws pictures.

4-6 months How the child communicates

Many children respond when they hear their name and would like you to talk to each other. It does not matter if the child does not understand what you are saying, the important thing is that you talk and respond when they try to communicate with you. Children are then stimulated to mimic different sounds. It also makes the dinghy more varied. Maybe you now hear your child laughing out loud for the first time.

During this period in the child’s life, it is common for the child to do this:

  • Jiggling with a consonant and a vowel, for example ba, ga, there.
  • Think it is fun with simple look-out games and “give-and-take games”.
  • Hear the difference in the tone of your voice. For example, they hear if you are angry or happy.
  • Begins to respond to certain words, such as the word no.

The child can often respond with a smile when you talk to them. But the child also smiles to catch the attention of you and other relatives.

The child tests sound by using different voice modes and volume.

At this age, children can begin to understand what you are looking at and what you are doing. This can be noticed, for example, by turning to the direction you are looking at yourself.

Tips on what you can do

Here are some tips on what can be fun at this age:

  • Tell stories, rhymes and rams, read books and sing. Tell us what you do and what the child sees and experiences. Listen to what the child is trying to tell you.
  • Find toys with different sounds.
  • Play simple games with frames, which contain both sound and body contact. The child may find it exciting, it gives the feeling of beginning and end and it becomes something you do together. For example, sing “Little foot beware, beware, beware, little foot beware, otherwise I’ll take you!” while taking the child’s foot.
  • Make the baby’s first book. Photograph parents and other close relatives, stuffed animals, possible siblings and pets. Read the book and make small stories about the pictures. If the child has siblings they can join in and tell.

4-6 months The body and how the child moves

The child uses his hands to reach things in his vicinity. The hand is a gripping tool but also helps the child to recognize shapes and structures.

Now it is common for the child to do this:

  • Grabs and releases things with your hands.
  • Moves things from hand to hand.
  • Would like to bring his hand to his mouth to taste different things.

The child learns to lift his head and shoulders when lying on his back. The child can then see his feet which are fun to discover with both his hands and his mouth.

At this age, some children also start doing this:

  • Lie on your stomach, lean on your forearms while holding a small toy.
  • Sit pretty firmly with support.
  • Practice starting to move, for example, by kicking or rolling from the stomach to the back or vice versa.

Soon the child starts to move forwards or backwards, often by eel. Then the coordination between arms and legs is trained. This is the basis of the movements that the child needs to be able to start later.

Feet and legs can support the body if you hold the baby upright. The child usually likes to kneel on an adult.

Mouth

At this age, the baby can begin to taste ordinary food, learn to handle it in the mouth and swallow it. The next step is to use the lips to pull off the food from the spoon. If the child is exercising, they can learn to start drinking from a mug or pipe mug.

Tips on what you can do

Here are some tips on what can be fun at this age:

  • Have the child try to move forward after a rolling ball or try to move a toy from one hand to the other.
  • Have the child examine and discover with his hands, mouth and eyes. Place the baby on the belly on a comfortable blanket on the floor with things within easy reach.
  • Let the child use a play gym, it is good training for the child to learn to move and use his body.
  • Put the child in a high chair at the dining table and let them use fun things from the kitchen, such as a whisk or ladle.
  • Let the child bathe. It is easy to splash with the arms and kick with the legs in the water. An adult must be present when the child is bathing. You can also swim together, it usually kids think is fun.

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