Understanding This Milestone
Revisit the article on “Pays attention to faces”. With his vision getting better, your lad’s found another avenue to explore the universe. And his first focus of interest is to see closely who that person is, who’s always around the corner, always there for him whenever he calls, and even when he doesn’t.
Kids are innately intrigued by faces than other shapes. From birth, they know their mom’s face but it’s the boundary of her face’s hairline. Later this intrigue extends to all faces. You must have watched in amusement how your baby behaves when in front of a mirror. It’s as if he’s interacting with someone else, and he is! As yet, he doesn’t know well that the boy in the mirror is his reflection.
Then his developing binocular vision enables him to focus on objects better, in this case—faces! You’ll also witness increased eye-contact. All this helps in examining faces, and telling familiar ones apart from unfamiliar ones.
What & When
At birth, she can, through her angelic eyes and her hazy clouded vision, see and recognize your face mom, but mostly the contrasting border of the face rather than inside features.
At 1 month, she can see between 8-12 inches. That’s also how close her face is to yours during breastfeeding. By 2nd month, it’s increase in eye-contact as well.
By 3-4 months, she can differentiate between familiar and unfamiliar faces, and even recognize whether she’s seen the stranger before or not. Better vision helps her see mom’s(or papa’s) face clearer, so she can fully familiarize herself with the face of affection!
From Baby Steps to Strides
There’s plenty of activities you’ve already been doing to stimulate development (refer to other milestone articles).
Have abundant face-to-face interactions, making a variety of expressions for him to examine, and let him hear your voice too, so he associates the voice to the face and figure. Take this step forward by bringing others into the activity, like immediate family, and then regularly visiting people. You’ll also see him staring at strangers’ faces. Introduce him to the friendly ones and let him examine a variety of faces too.
Remember that newborns visually record the hairstyle and border of your figure, in their minds. To encourage visual interaction, maintain the same hairstyle and appearance.
Indulge in comical Mirror-play games. First he’ll interact with the kid in the mirror, but soon he’ll understand (in enough good part with your help) it to be his reflection. Keep pointing to the mirror-friend and call out baby’s name (all names you have for him). Purchase several mirrored toys as well, but play supervising him for safety.
Of course, there’s the photo album routine, where you routinely take him down the visual memory lane, introducing and initiating interactions with all those people he as seen before—whether often or occasionally. Take their names as you flip through.
What Not To Fret About
Once again, don’t be worried if she can’t recognize or get comfortable with those people who have held her few times ago, like relatives and friends. Her vision has developed now and she probably cannot remember seeing them. Her memory also has to develop.
Not there yet!? Rule out any vision issues firsthand. Ensure proper nutrition in her meals. That includes your own meals!
When To Discuss With a Professional
If there is no interest in watching faces, or ignoring new faces
If there is any regression (falling back from progressed state) in previously attained milestones .
If you suspect any vision problems.