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Babies have a positive response to visual stimulation that’s beneficial in more ways than one for their sensory development. Find out how your baby can benefit from it too!
Babies come into this world with eyes filled of wonder. Nurturing them physically comes naturally to us as parents but their senses, including their eyes, need stimulation too!
Visual Stimulation is engaging a child’s visual senses in order to help optimal sensory development. Past research shows that children who got additional visual stimulation, as compared to children who did not receive any additional visual stimulation, showed higher levels of sharp eyesight and enhanced memory development.
At birth, a child’s vision is fuzzy because the retina is not fully developed and the nerve cells in a baby’s brain are not completely connected. The baby cannot see different colours or shades, only shades of black and white. His vision can only focus between 8 – 12 inches. Even full term babies are only able to see their mother’s face clearly within a week after birth.
During the first few days after birth, babies learn to focus through their eyes by looking at faces. It’s only after a few weeks that they start focussing at, and following objects visually.
Leverage this time of sensory development and provide additional visual stimulation through the following ways:
- From a very early age, i.e. from the time the baby is born till he’s a few months old, stimulate a baby’s vision by surrounding the baby with black and white colours, especially stripes. These send a strong signal to a baby’s retina as he is able to distinguish these colours well. The stronger the signal, the better will be the development of brain.
- You can do this by surrounding the baby’s bed with black and white pictures. This could include the bedsheet, blanket, pillow covers, towels and toys
- Gradually, increase your child’s exposure by showing him high contrast colours. You can even use flash cards that are available in the market for this purpose. Doing this at a very early stage increases the curiosity of your child is definitely a great stimulator for your baby’s eyes.
- Additionally, help develop your baby’s focus by holding your baby very close to your face, as often as you can. Since he learns to focus through faces, he’ll receive higher visual stimulation when you do this.
- Gradually, while sitting very close to him, make some hand and eye movements and let your baby observe. This will help develop his line of sight.
From a week after the birth of baby till about a year, it is of utmost importance to provide different types of visual stimulation to our baby. For long term results, it is of utmost importance to be consistent in our efforts. This will not only have a positive impact on their memory enhancement but also the reading skills in your child.