Selecting developmental toys for infants does not have to be stressful or difficult. However, with so many toys on the market today, it is important to realize that not all of them will be appropriate for your child. If this is an area where you could use some advice, check out the following tips for selecting developmental toys.
Overview of Developmental Stages
There are five different categories of developmental stages for infants:
Vision & Hearing
Some toys for infants help address one specific category while one toy may have been made with the intent to work on multiple developmental milestones.
Why Age Ranges on Toys Are So Broad
You may have noticed that many toys for infants are labeled with a broad age range. It is merely a guideline and is not set in stone. If your 5 month old seems ready for a toy geared at 6 to 9 month old babies, it will not hurt your child to go ahead and give it to them.
However, with this in mind, you should not completely ignore those age recommendations, either. You need to figure out if the toy will challenge your child without completely frustrating them. Kids develop at such varied rates, especially during the first few years, which is why toys have such wide age recommendations on them.
Know Your Child's Skill Level
In order to select the right toy for your infant, you need to know what skill level they are at. This is even more important if you have a child with special needs child or if they have been diagnosed with a developmental delay.
Once you determine what your child's skill level is, you should figure out what development areas are lacking. All babies have their strengths and weaknesses, just like us adults do. For example, if your 12 month old is trying to sound out words, then they are right on target developmentally. However, if they are not walking or at least making an attempt to, then you should consider buying a pull-up toy or something similar that will encourage your little one to make those first steps.
The Educational Factor
Believe it or not, but nearly every toy for infants is educational in some way. Even objects you have around the house that interest your little one will teach them something about the world and help with their development.
For example, a simple ball can teach your child how to grasp. As they get to be older infants, they will develop their motor skills further when they attempt to roll the ball themselves and catch it when it is rolled to them.
Choose Toys for Infants That Are Fun
The final and most important tip when selecting developmental toys for infants is to make sure it is something your child will enjoy playing with. There is no use in buying a toy that will promise to help meet your child's milestones if they have no interest in it.
Using the above tips, you can be confident when you are buying toys for your baby. If you have any doubt when selecting developmental toys for infants, ask your pediatrician for recommendations.