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. Your baby at only a few weeks of age can show her mastery of this skill if the object is at the right distance away.

As a newborn, the ideal distance is 8 to 12 inches, but as she approaches 3 months that distance increases to about 15 inches. Your newborn can better track objects that are of a contrasting color or design, but her eyesight develops near 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—not hungry, 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".

  1. Begin by holding a simple toy (like a ball or set of baby keys) about 9 inches away from your baby's eyes.
  2. Patiently wait for her eyes to locate the object in her vision. To capture her attention, you may need to shake the object.
  3. Then slowly move the object left to right and allow her to track the object. Don't move the object to 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 will lock onto the toy.

As you do this activity daily, you'll begin to notice that she will increase the length of time she tracks objects. As she approaches 3 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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