As soon as babies are born, they’re ready and willing to start learning and all of their five senses are active. One important way in which they learn is through touching.
Babies may be unable to communicate verbally with other people until they’re older, but they can still learn effectively about the world around them through their five senses. One of these, touch, can play a vital role in their learning ability and help them get to know the objects, people, home and environment in which they live. This is helpful, as young babies need to make sense of their world, look at things and see how different things feel.
A baby’s use of touching inevitably goes hand-in-hand with the other senses too. For example, as well as touching things with their hands, it’s natural for the next step to be putting an item in their mouth – so they can feel and taste it. As they make sense of objects by looking at them, just as cuddly toys or a mobile on their cot, they normally want to reach out and touch things too, so they can feel what they’re like and make sense of the different textures of objects.
Of course, you do have to be aware of safety issues too, as it’s not safe for babies to touch everything. Due to this, parents need to have a careful think about the potential dangers lurking in the home and the elements that could be harmful to babies. For example, it could be from plugs that could be touched by babies as they begin to crawl, to small objects left on the floor that could be picked up and even swallowed by a young child.
Ways To Help Your Baby Learn Through Touching
There are many ways in which you can help your baby learn through touching. Here are a few ideas to get you going, but hopefully you’ll be inspired to come up with your own ideas too.
- Babies love to explore different textures (rough, smooth, shiny, matt, etc) and there are lots of baby-friendly toys and books that incorporate these features that you can buy to use with your baby.
- Rattles and other toys that make noises are fun to use with babies. They enjoy holding or touching the object themselves and get the added surprise when it makes a noise too.
- When they start to move onto solid foods, babies love to explore their menu through touch. Although a bit messy, let your baby have the freedom to touch their foods, like bananas, mashed vegetables or rice, so they can get to know the texture and feel through their hands, as well as what it’s like when it’s in their mouth and they eat it.
- As well as in the house, babies can explore the outside world too, such as in the garden. When the weather is nice, and assuming the garden is safe and without immediate hazards, put a blanket on the lawn and let your baby feel the air and crawl around on the blanket (but not in hot sunshine). Touching the grass and feeling the earth will introduce them to what lawn feels like and it’s always good for them to be outside in fresh air.
In addition to touching and feeling the objects in the world around them, babies learn too by the touch of their parents. Cuddles are always great and help a baby learn that they’re loved and cared for, so give plenty!