Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Developmental Wednesday #8

This week's developmental post is dedicated to the topic of object permanence. Developmental therapists, child books or magazines all talk about this issue. Newborns and young babies have no concept that a person, toy or book can exist even if he/she can't see it. Around 8 months, your baby will start to look around for an object that you have hidden - or will cry if you leave the room. This is a great developmental milestone that you can work on with your preemie. Here are some ways to help your preemie look for hidden objects:

1. Peek-A-Boo - Obviously this is a favorite game for almost all babies. In the beginning your preemie will be excited just by the fact that every time you "disappear", you come back. Once your preemie has mastered the basic idea, try peeking out from the left or right side of your hands too.

2. Hidden Object, Part 1 - Once you think that your preemie is getting ready to look for a hidden object, start by placing a blanket over part of a toy. Leave enough exposed so that your preemie can still see the object. This way he/she will realize that the toy is there but they start to get the idea of removing the blanket to see the whole thing.

3. Hidden Object, Part2 - After your preemie has mastered the first part, start covering the entire toy and encourage your preemie to find it. Slowly over time, he/she will get the idea and will pull the blanket off to find it.

4. Hidden Object, Part 3 - The next thing you can do is to use a small object and put it under a cup, bucket or box and have them look for it.

5. Hidden Object, Part 4 - After that, take two similar boxes or cups and place an object under one of the items. Make sure your preemie sees you put it under one of the cups and then encourage him/her to find it. In the beginning he/she will probably pick up both cups and then slowly they will pick up the one that has the hidden object.

6. Rolling an Object - Once your preemie has mastered the concept of looking for a hidden object, you can start using a ball or car (something that rolls). Put a book or box in the path of the car or ball. Roll the ball or car behind the box or book and see if your preemie follows the path of the moving object.

Tip: When you are hiding items, try to use a bland or uninteresting blanket, cup, etc. so that your preemie doesn't get distracted by the new thing if front of him/her.

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