BABY'S HANDS: USEFUL EVERY DAY FOR A LIFETIME.
GROW YOUR MAGNIFICENT CHILD
BABY’S HANDS: USEFUL EVERY DAY FOR A LIFETIME: Baby’s hand use and manual development.
Baby’s OMSDEP: Her hand use and manual development intentions:
To naturally use her shoulders and arms to position her hands, and to then pick up (and put back down) objects such as a spoon or food by choice (not by reflex).
In other words; she will look at it, guide her hand to it, close her hand around it, pick it up with her hand and put it down with her hand when she decides to.
To become mobile by using her hands and arms to pull herself along.
Baby’s ability to pick up and put down:
The way baby lets go of an object during Level 2 is distinctly different from the way she let go during Level 1. During Level 1 baby only let go if objects were shaken, knocked or taken out of her grasp. When baby lets go of an object at Level 2 she opens her hand and releases the object she is holding.
When she commences Level 2 baby can grasp an object that finds its way into her palm. She can also let the object go wherever her hand happens to be when she decides to let it go. But she has little, if any, control over from where she will pick up an object and where she will put it down.
At the end of this level baby is able to pick up and put down objects in a way that is distinctly different from the way she picks up and puts down objects with her hands when she commences this Level 2. When she commences this Level baby has little, if any, control over how she will use her arms and shoulders to move her hands over to any object she wishes to pick up. She also has little, if any, control over how she will use her arms and shoulders to move her hands to where she wants to put an object down. And she cannot close her hand to pick up an object whenever she chooses to do so because she still has a grasp reflex that closes her hand automatically.
At the end of this Level baby will have control over how she uses her arms and shoulders to move her hands to the place where she wishes to pick up or put down an object. She will also have considerable control over how carefully she opens her hands to pick an object up and to put it down.
Grasping, letting go and pulling:
Baby’s hand use (manual) development follows two similar but different pathways during Level 2.
The First Pathway:
Grasping leads to picking up.
On the first pathway baby needs many opportunities to grasp objects and let them go because by grasping objects and then letting them go she develops her brain to a level where she can pick up and put down objects herself. To help baby on her OMSDEP, and to help her brain develop, parents place objects in baby’s hands frequently throughout the day and allow her to hold and examine them and let them go. This activity is done ten or more times each day. Suitable objects to hand to baby include toys, plastic or wooden dowel, teething rings, fingers, teddies, rolled paper or any other object she might care to hold before she lets go. Handing objects to baby can be great fun for both parents and baby. She should enjoy the experience of being given different objects to hold and she will certainly enjoy the love, care and attention you are giving her. Baby is also given more opportunities to grasp when she plays the game ‘lift-offs’ at this Level.
The Second Pathway:
Pulling as a Means of Moving.
In a natural environment baby will sometimes grasp an object and begin to pull it towards her or pull herself towards it. When she pulls herself towards it she becomes mobile by use of her hands and arms. As she pulls she might also use her feet to crawl. Eventually, by combining the use of her hands, arms, legs and feet she will be able to climb trees and playground equipment. Her present and future ability to crawl, climb and swing from bars, branches or a trapeze is significantly established by providing a suitable developmental environment at this Level. Her lung development and gymnastics abilities are also improved in later Levels if she uses her strong grasp to learn to swing well on a bar or trapeze. Her lungs are developed by the exercise that occurs when her arms are lifted above her head to hold a (horizontal gymnastics) bar. This activity pulls her chest out and her lungs expand and increase her lung capacity. Doing the lift-offs activity also has this positive effect on the lungs.
In modern environments babies are usually isolated from tree roots, tufts of grass, uneven floors with cracks, or exposed rocks to grasp and pull on. Except for when they are picked up and held babies’ main environments are more likely to be smooth bed sheets, smooth or carpeted level floors and smooth bath tubs; with little or no opportunity for them to grasp. If they are somewhat more fortunate they might have toy mobiles dangling above them and they can grasp them while they lay on their backs. But, of course, if they are laying on their backs they are missing the very important opportunity to practice crawling.
In a modern environment, therefore, a baby’s opportunities to grasp and pull herself along, or to pull objects towards herself, are very limited. Placing baby among tree roots, or making cracks and bumps that she can grasp in our home floors, are obviously impractical solutions. The magnificentchildren.love solution is to play ‘lift-offs’ with baby ten times each day.
During this Level Natural Parenting parents continue to use the same lift-offs procedure as they did in Level 1, but in Level 2 baby is lifted higher and she supports her own weight. Remember that baby can now let go; therefore care must be taken that you can always grasp her hands if she does begin to let go. Always ensure that there is a soft surface such as a bed or pillow beneath her.
Continue to do the lift-offs activity with baby 10 times each day; take up to one minute to do between 3 and 7 lift offs as previously. But now, instead of laying baby back down when she has reached about 30 degrees, bring her up further until she is in a sitting position. Then take her up a little higher until her bottom is just above the surface she was sitting on, she will now be supporting much of her own weight. Hold her there for 5 seconds and then gently let her back down. Continue the practice for two weeks while gradually increasing the time she is held up from 5 to 10 seconds. After two weeks lift baby all the way from laying on her back in a horizontal position, through 30 degrees, to a sitting position, and then lift her up into standing position. She should find this ‘lift-off’ to a new view of the world while standing on her own two feet quite enjoyable. At this level of development (and even when she was in Level 1) baby should be able to hold so tightly that she can actually be lifted into the air while holding onto her parent’s fingers or thumbs.
Besides preparing her hands and brain for skills such as piano playing, pottery and plumbing lift-offs are also establishing her crawling, gymnastic bar and trapeze skills. Baby enjoys being held up high and should be delighted with herself, and you, when she is lifted into a standing position and then, one day soon, into the air. Lift her into the air, while she holds your fingers or thumbs, by raising her just a few millimetres off the surface she is standing on when you feel confident and it is safe to do so.
When doing lift-offs with baby keep your hands around hers so that you can grasp her quickly and easily if she begins to fall. This is quite simple to do providing you pay constant attention to her. See the section titled “Safety grip” in Level 1 for more information. Always ensure that baby has a soft surface to fall onto if she does happen to fall.
Baby’s first gymnastics bar:
When you have successfully lifted baby into the air whilst she is grasping your fingers or thumbs it is time to erect her first gymnastics bar. This bar is solidly fixed into a doorway, corner or similar position where baby can hang from it by her hands. After two weeks using the bar remove it from the doorway or wherever it is situated and make a trapeze. A trapeze is actually a bar on rope and, because it swings, is usually a little more interesting and more fun than a bar for young children. If you wish you could make a trapeze immediately and ignore making a bar, but keep in mind that the bar is easier for most parents to handle than a trapeze as it remains still when baby is lifted up to it. See the plan below that shows how to construct baby’s bar and trapeze.
At first allow baby to hang from the bar or trapeze for only two or three seconds then immediately lift her down and greatly congratulate her for her success. Increase the period for which she hangs by one second each time she hangs from the bar or trapeze until she is hanging for 15 seconds. Then increase her hanging time by one or two seconds each day or two until she is hanging from the bar or trapeze for up to 30 seconds each time. (Thirty seconds is about the limit for most babies and it is advisable not to exceed that time.) Put baby on the bar five times each day. Also continue to do the lift-offs from your thumbs ten times each day. Encourage baby to hold on to the bar rather than let go. She should be quite capable of hanging from the bar; the main risk is that she may, on rare occasions, decide to let go. It is unlikely she will let go more than once and if you allow her to fall a little and then catch her, she will be safely held in your hands. She might get a slight surprise and she could cry or laugh; but she should be safe in your hands and is unlikely to let go again. Gradual introduction to the bars (rather than 30 seconds hanging immediately) is required so that she, and her hands and fingers, become gradually adjusted to hanging. Constant congratulations and praise for her strength should delight her and make hanging from the bars a daily activity she joyfully looks forward too. Nevertheless she should never be left hanging from the bar for longer than she enjoys.
The trapeze rope is tied to hooks or eyebolts that are screwed into the top of the doorframe. The trapeze rope must be strong enough to hold baby’s weight. When the trapeze is not in use it can be tied up on the hooks or eyebolts so it does not obstruct the doorway. The trapeze bar is made from dowel. The dowel diameter is the same as is used to construct the bar below. Trapezes can, of course, also be hung from trees, exterior parts of buildings and in oth`er places. Having a trapeze inside your home is an advantage during poor weather as baby can continue to use it in any weather. The plan at right shows how to construct baby’s bar or trapeze in a doorframe.
The two dowel support panels are screwed onto the sides of the doorframe (technically call the doorjamb). The dowel that is used as baby’s gymnastics bar is then fitted into the appropriate slot at the correct level according to her height. There are also curtain fittings that can be used to hold the dowel in place.
The ideal dowel diameter is generally one of the diameters stated below, depending on baby’s hand size:
Age 6 to 36 months: Generally 18mm diameter dowel but reduce to about 12mm diameter if 18mm is too big for baby to hold well.
Age 36 months and over: Generally 25mm diameter dowel.
“She flies through the air with the greatest of ease”:
Whilst taking care that baby does not drop do the following:
When you do “lift-offs’ to the standing position with baby lift her higher and into the air. Then swing her a few centimetres back and forth while she holds on to your thumbs. (Your hands will be in the safety position at the back of hers). Over the coming months begin to swing her a little further every few days.
You can sing the ‘Trapeze Song’ below to baby as you swing her and she will enjoy her swinging even more. This song will also be fun for baby when she is on the trapeze and it allows her to know how long she will be holding on. Lift her down from the trapeze or your fingers or thumbs when you finish the song and she will learn to expect that.
“Oh, she flies through the air with the greatest of ease,
The daring young girl on the flying trapeze.
She flies up and down and she flies all around;
And then, she lands on the ground.”
When you sing the last word ‘ground’ place baby’s feet on a surface on which she can stand and then gently put her down. The song can be sung quickly in about ten seconds, slowly in about twenty five seconds and the first two lines can be sung quickly in about five seconds. Choose your singing speed and repeat or drop lines to match the time you anticipate baby should happily hang on the bar, trapeze or your thumbs.
Height of the trapeze bar above the floor or ground.
Measure your child’s length from the tip of her fingers with her arms extended above her head to the floor. Add 50 millimetres to the measured length and place the trapeze bar at that height. Her feet should clear the floor by about one centimetre when she hangs from the trapeze. As she grows taller the trapeze ropes can be shortened to keep her feet above the ground.
Activities for parents and babies:
A list of magnificentchildren.love activities follows. These are practical activities for children to do with their parent’s help. Magnificentchildren.love parents create the environment baby requires to complete her ONSDEP. In many cases, these activities are the environment required and, after commencement, promote baby’s excellent natural development.
The activity list sometimes includes extracts of preceding sections as well as new information. The list is intended for use as a day to day checklist for quick and easy reference but, to fully understand and participate in the activities, parents may need to re-read the entire Level, or other parts of this book, from time to time.
Praise, congratulate and cheer baby each time she participates in any activity at any Level.
Developing the ability to pick up.
Ten times each day do the following:
Have baby grasp an object that she can easily grasp, and give her the opportunity to let go of the object herself. Do this five times in her right hand and five times in her left hand (a total of ten grasps).
Do these ten sets of ten grasps each day until baby is able to pick up, hold and put down objects by herself, and then discontinue. When baby can pick-up, hold and put down objects by herself she has completed one part of her OMSDEP at this level. Suitable objects for baby to grasp include toys, fingers, teddies, rolled paper, timber dowel or any other object she might care to hold before she lets go.
Continue to do the lift-offs activity with baby 10 times each day, with each of the 10 sessions taking up to one minute to do between 3 and 7 lift offs as in Level 1. But now, instead of laying her back down when she has reached about 30 degrees, bring her up further until she is in a sitting position, Take her up a little higher until her bottom is just above the surface she was sitting on, she will now be supporting much of her own weight. Hold her there for 5 seconds and then gently let her back down. Continue the practice for two weeks while gradually increasing the time she is held up from 5 to 10 seconds. After two weeks lift baby all the way from laying on her back in a horizontal position, through 30 degrees, to a sitting position, and then lift her up into standing position. She should find this ‘lift-off’ to a new view of the world while standing on her own two feet quite enjoyable. At this level of development (and even when she was in Level 1) baby should be able to hold so tightly that she can actually be lifted into the air while holding onto her parent’s fingers.
When baby is doing lift-offs to the standing position then, every one or two times she does a lift off, begin to lift her into the air and swing her a few centimetres back and forth on your thumbs. Over the coming months begin to swing her a little further every few days. Sing the Trapeze Song to baby as you swing her.
The bar and trapeze:
Make a bar for baby to hang from and make a trapeze for her to swing from. After two weeks using the bar it is usually convenient to remove it and use the trapeze only. But, if you and baby prefer to continue using the bar and the trapeze, or the bar only, then do so.
At first baby should hang from the bar (or the trapeze if you decide to use it immediately) for only two or three seconds and she should be greatly congratulated on her success. Increase the period for which she hangs by one second each time she hangs from the bar or trapeze until she is hanging for 15 seconds. Then increase her hanging time by one or two seconds each day or two until she is hanging from the bar or trapeze for up to 30 seconds each time. Thirty seconds is about the limit for most babies. Do this five times each day and also continue to do the lift-offs from your thumbs ten times each day. Sing the ‘Trapeze Song’ to baby as you swing her.
When doing lift-offs or trapeze with baby keep your hands in the safety grip position around hers so that you can grasp her quickly and easily if she begins to fall. This should be quite simple to do providing you pay constant attention to her and it would be unusual, but possible, for baby to let go. Always ensure that baby has a soft surface to fall onto if she does happen to fall. If your trapeze is in a doorway and it is possible for baby to fall sideways and hit a doorjamb (or any other object) the doorjamb (or other object) should be well padded to avoid injury.
What baby should be doing at this Level of development:
Grasping objects and then letting them go when she chooses.
What baby should be doing as she enters the next Level of development:
Using her shoulders and arms to position her hands she will pick up objects such as a spoon or food by choice (not by reflex) she will then put the object down wherever she chooses. She will still use her whole hand and all fingers at once to hold objects that she picks up.
In brief; she will look at it, guide her hand to it, close her hand around it, pick it up and put it down when and where she decides to.
Supporting her own weight for over ten seconds as she hangs while grasping a bar, trapeze, fingers or thumbs.
When baby can do as above she graduates to Level 3 of Baby's Hands. Click on the diploma below to move on to Level 3.
An average child is likely to move on to Level 3 at approximately age 5 months.
A magnificentchildren.love child could potentially move on to Level 3 at approximately age 3.5 month.