Tips for Developing Your Baby's Visual Tracking Skills

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In the first three months of your baby's physical development, her vision will be steadily developing. You'll find she loves staring at faces and can follow objects with her eyes. To help encourage the development of her baby vision, there are several simple games that you can play together.

Visual Tracking in Babies

Visual tracking is the ability to follow a moving object with the eyes. At only a few weeks of age, Baby can show her mastery of this skill if the object is at the proper distance.

As a newborn, the ideal distance is eight to 10 inches. Your newborn can better track objects that are of a contrasting color or design, but any interesting toy or object will do.

Baby Vision Activity

Visual stimulation is a great way to assess how well your baby's vision is developing. Select a time when your baby is in a good mood—well-fed, comfortable, and alert—to play this simple game.

Keep in mind, if your baby has had too much playtime, she may become overstimulated and start to fuss. Watch your baby's cues for when she is ready to play.

  • Begin by holding a simple toy (like a ball or set of baby keys) about nine inches away from your baby's eyes.
  • Wait patiently for her eyes to locate the object in her vision. To capture her attention, you may need to shake the object.
  • Move the object slowly to the left and to the right and allow her to track the object. Don't move the object too quickly, or she will lose her focus. As long as you don't move the object too far from her range of view, her eyes should lock onto the toy.

If you do this activity daily, you'll begin to notice that she will increase the length of time she tracks objects. As she approaches three months, you can also begin to slowly move the object up and down as well as left to right, developing both horizontal and vertical tracking skills.

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3 Sources
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  1. American Optometric Association. Toys, Games, and Your Child's Vision.

  2. American Optometric Association. Infant Vision: Birth to 24 Months of Age.

  3. American Academy of Pediatrics. Warning Signs of Vision Problems in Infants & Children. Updated July 19, 2016.