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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL depth perception. Later in infancy, interacting with brightly colored toys helps develop their network of synapses or brain connections. This skill refine- ment continues until about six months, when the brain connections are complete and infants’ vision is about 20/25 (Heiting 2010). From this point, infants are working on hand-eye coordination and judging distance to objects. Physicians know that eye problems, such as congenital cataracts, extreme nearsighted or farsighted vision, or eyes that turn outward or inward, need to be dealt with as early as possible. Correcting eye complications early allows the connections between the eyes and the brain to develop. i n Fa n t   &  t o d d l e r  a c t i v i t i e S support seeing ›   describe what the infant sees. Simple one- or two- word descriptions are suffi cient for a young child.  as the toddler begins to point, identify what he is  pointing to, fi rst using one or two words and then  again in a short sentence: “Ball. You see a big ball.”  as the child matures, increase the length of the  description. ›   Keep a pleasant, animated face to give infants and  toddlers a feeling of security. ›   provide colorful posters or pictures placed at eye  level. describe what the child sees. Be careful not  to overwhelm infants and toddlers with too much  visual stimulation. ›   read books and other printed material to children  right from birth. Make it a time for cuddling and lap  sitting to help instill a love of reading. if the story  is long, keep it short and simple by “reading” the  pictures as you point to them rather than the  written words. add gestures, such as pretend eating  or smelling a fl ower. older infants will imitate the  motions, building a better understanding of what  they see. 16  c h a p t e r   2 Smelling Infants have a heightened sense of smell and taste. In the beginning, infants identify people through sound and smell. They respond to the smell of their mother and her milk and root for the breast. They identify a comfort toy or blanket by its smell. Sometimes adults try to replace a comfort object with another toy or blanket that looks exactly the same. Infants can tell the difference in the smell and often will not accept the replacement article. i n Fa n t   &  t o d d l e r  a c t i v i t i e S support smelling ›   provide familiar-smelling blankets or toys when a  child is upset; the familiar smell may provide  comfort. ›   Speak of odors using descriptive words to help  children learn smells. identify the smell of different  foods, a dirty diaper, or fresh-cut grass. ›   demonstrate to older infants and toddlers how to  sniff at a fl ower or a piece of fruit. encourage them  to imitate you. describe the smell. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL