Recommendations From Pediatricians to Parents

Use play to help meet milestones. From birth, infants use play to explore the world around them as well as to learn and develop important life skills.
0–6 mo
 Show your infant interesting objects, such as a brightly colored mobile or toy.
 Talk to your infant often to familiarize him or her with your voice, and respond when he or she coos and babbles.
 Place your infant in different positions so he or she can see the world from different angles.
 Let your infant bring safe objects to his or her mouth to explore and experience new textures.
 Vary facial expressions and gestures so that your infant can imitate them. Imitate your infant’s sounds and engage in a back-and-forth conversation using your infant’s sounds as a prompt.
7–12 mo
 Use a mirror to show faces to your infant.
 Provide your infant with a safe environment to crawl and explore.
 Place your infant in a variety of positions, such as on his or her tummy, side, etc.
 Give your infant opportunities to learn that his or her actions have effects (for example, when he or she drops a toy and it falls to the ground). Put a few toys within the reach of your infant so he or she can take toys out and play with them.
 Play peek-a-boo.
1–3 y
 Allow your child to spend time with objects and toys that he or she enjoys.
 Give your child pens, markers, or crayons and paper to practice scribbling.
 Encourage your child to interact with peers.
 Help your child explore his or her body through different movements (for example, walking, jumping, and standing on 1 leg).
 Provide opportunities to create make-believe situations with objects (for example, pretending to drink out of an empty cup or offering toys that enable pretend play).
 Respond when your child speaks, answer questions, and provide verbal encouragement.
 Provide blocks, plastic containers, wooden spoons, and puzzles.
 Read regularly to and with your child. Encourage pretend play based on these stories.
 Sing songs and play rhythms so that your child can learn and join in the fun.
4–6 y
 Provide opportunities for your child to sing and dance.
 Tell stories to your child and ask questions about what he or she remembers.
 Give your child time and space to act out imaginary scenes, roles, and activities.
 Allow your child to move between make-believe games and reality (for example, playing house and helping you with chores).
 Schedule time for your child to interact with friends to practice socializing and building friendships.
 Encourage your child to try a variety of movements in a safe environment (for example, hopping, swinging, climbing, and doing somersaults).