In the beginning, I may need help doing these things. You can help me by letting me grasp your finger, or putting a small, light toy in my hands.
Head Positioning and Shape
I may have the tendency to turn my head to one particular side. It is important that I learn to look both right and left so I can equally use both sides of my body. In addition, turning my head in different directions will help it to have a nice round shape.
For all activities, make sure I get time looking right and looking left.
Experiences with Textures
Let me touch and play with a variety of textures and weights.
Hang objects above me in the crib or when I'm playing on the floor. Mobiles and crib/floor gyms work well for this activity.
At first, I will just look at the objects. Then, I will begin to bat at them, reach for them, and finally grab for them.
You can also hang the toys near my feet. I will learn to kick at them. I will be especially motivated if they make noise once I touch them.
Experiences with Sounds
Let me hear a variety of sounds, such as rattles, a variety of music, and squeaky toys. Make sounds near one of my ears (do not get too close). Do my eyes move in that direction? Do I turn my head towards the sound?
Remember: Very loud noises or too many sounds at once may startle me.
Experiences with Sight
Remember: I may get tired of looking and need to take a break every so often.
Myth: I am simply a smaller version of a full-term infant.
Reality: Premature infants tend to develop in slightly different ways than full-term babies. This is because we were born before we had time to finish some important growing. For example, a full-term infant tends to be all curled up with their arms and legs bent tight towards their body. A preemie's limbs tend to be more straightened out.
Myth: I am too fragile to put on my belly.
Reality: Even though I am tiny, it is okay to put me on my tummy when I am awake and an adult is in the room. This is how I will learn to hold up my head and bear weight on my arms.