Idaho CareLine: Dial 2-1-1 or 800-926-2588
Development and Discovery
A "ticklish" baby is often very sensitive because she has not had enough stimulation of her sense of touch. If your baby is ticklish, begin by using her own hands to rub and pat her body. As she learns to trust her own touch, you can gradually being using your own hand.
Remember, too, that a very light touch feels more "tickly" than a firmer touch. A gentle but firm touch with the whole palm of your hand is less apt to "tickle" than a stroke with the fingertips.
Although a baby is fascinated with faces, it is ironic that her own face is the hardest one for her to get to know! A mirror is a self-discovery toy that will help a baby become aware of her own appearance. At first, baby may not realize that the face in the mirror is her own. But she will still have fun interacting with her reflection. Every time she changes her position or moves the mirror, she will see something new.
If you play with her, she will see and learn even more. For example, put her hand on your nose and say, "Nose, my nose." Then put her hand on her nose and say, "Nose, Barbara’s nose." As you move your fingers on her face, name the parts you are touching. Then do the same with her hands on your face. You can do all of these things in front of the mirror.
Here are some activities to help baby learn about her reflection:
♥ Hold baby on your lap with both of you facing the same direction. Hold the mirror so she can see herself. Point to her reflection and say, "I see Barbara." Then ask, "Where is Barbara? Find Barbara." The aim of this game is for the baby to smile and reach for herself in the mirror.
♥ Pick up a small toy that baby is familiar with and move it behind her head so she can see it in the mirror along with her own reflection. Say, "See the rattle? It makes noise." The aim of this game is for baby to watch the object in the mirror and in your hand.
♥ Catch a beam of light on the mirror and make its reflection dance on the walls or ceiling.
When does baby really understand that the face in the mirror is her own? Put a crayon mark or a bit of masking tape on the tip of her nose and let her look in the mirror. Where does she reach to remove it: to the mirror or to her own nose?
Make sure the mirror you use is unbreakable and safe for baby to handle.