Visual Development

What Parents Can do to Help With Visual Development

Vision is such an important part of early development and impacts your child’s learning throughout their life. There are many things parents can do to help their baby’s vision develop properly. The following are some examples of age-appropriate activities that can stimulate an infant’s visual development. Many of these activities can also be used with older children that struggle with eye-hand coordination.

Birth to four months

  • Change the crib’s position frequently and change your child’s position in it.
  • Keep reach-and-touch toys within your baby’s focus, about eight to twelve inches.
  • Talk to your baby as you walk around the room.
  • Alternate right and left sides with each feeding. This helps the eyes cross midline, an important foundational skill for reading.

Five to eight months

  • Hang a mobile or gym and place various objects near the baby to grab, pull and kick.
  • Give the baby plenty of time to play and explore on the floor. This helps develop the muscles of the neck and shoulders, the foundation for eye-hand coordination.
  • Provide blocks, whiffle balls, small plastic cups, or bracelets that can be held in the hands. This stimulates eye-hand-mouth coordination.
  • Play patty cake and other games, moving the baby’s hands through the motions while saying the words aloud.

Nine to twelve months

  • Play hide and seek games with toys or your face to help the baby develop visual memory.
  • Look at and name objects when talking to encourage the baby’s word association and vocabulary development skills. This also helps develop shared attention, an important communication skill.
  • Encourage crawling and creeping by placing interesting toys (and siblings or pets!) just out of reach on the floor.

One to two years

  • Roll a ball back and forth to help the child track objects with the eyes visually. This skill is used later in school to look up at the board and back at their desk.
  • Finger feeding small pieces of food and learning to use a spoon develops both fine motor and visual perceptual skills.
  • Read or tell stories to stimulate the child’s ability to visualize and pave the way for learning and reading skills.
  • Toys like building blocks can help boost fine motor skills and small muscle development.

Adapted from the American Optometric Association,

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