Decorating a nursery is loads of fun, particularly for new parents – but don’t be fooled, a baby mobile is about far more than room decoration – they also offer loads of other, perhaps less obvious benefits for your new arrival.
Baby mobiles have a vital role to play as a fixture of a young child’s nursery. The benefits they offer are one of the reasons that the humble crib mobile has been an essential fixture of early childhood for generations.
They can help your baby sleep better and more quickly, offer audio and visual stimulation, and keep them entertained as they watch and listen to the mobile as it operates. Each of these features provides plenty of early development benefits that can give your baby a head start.
In this post, we’ll look at some of these benefits – offering a round-up of our favorites, hoping to make a strong case for getting a baby mobile for your little one’s crib, helping to set them on the right road to early childhood development.
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7 benefits of baby crib mobiles
Baby mobiles are an excellent crib accessory – helping to decorate and style a kid’s nursery for a particular theme, making great additions to any young child’s bedroom or nursery. But they’re not just great décor – they also have a whole host of benefits, from better sleep to helping develop essential skills, like eyesight and fine motor skills.
So, without further ado, here are our picks for 7 of the best benefits of crib mobiles and why they’re a worthwhile investment for your little one’s nursery.
1. Helps develop fine motor skills
If you’ve ever seen a baby move, the first thing you’ll likely notice is the jerky, uncoordinated ways in which they do it. This is because they’ve yet to develop the hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills necessary to control their movements better. It’s precisely this reason that makes gifting babies toys like baby dinosaur teethers, rattles, and baby mobiles essential. Each of these helps in a similar way to develop and build fine motor skills, getting your little one to mastery quicker than they otherwise might without them.
Mobiles are especially great early on, as young babies can only see and focus on objects placed 8-12 inches away. This means that they won’t be able to focus much further than what’s right in front of them – which is exactly where a baby mobile will be once installed in a crib.
Another idea to think about is to hang other toys on and around your baby’s crib, in addition to those hanging from their baby mobile. This is because you can put these lower and closer to baby, making it easier to them to reach out and grab these, further helping to build those all-important motor skills early on.
And it’s not just fine motor skills either – your baby will benefit from strengthening and building up the muscles needed to lift and move their head, as they move to track and follow the various moving parts and all their bright, bold colors as it moves around above them. These early developmental benefits alone make a strong case for baby mobiles, helping to give your little one the best start possible, building and developing essential skills early.
2. Aids and stimulates visual development
During the first few months of life, babies see huge improvements to eyesight, with significant changes happening in the development of their brains and eyes over their first year of life. Parents can help speed the process along, providing plenty of visual stimulation – giving them bright, bold, and colorful objects for them to look at and focus on in varying shapes, sizes, and colors.
As we’ve already mentioned, babies can see about 8-12 inches away from them – with the world beyond this being blurry. This inability to see much further than right in front of them makes babies somewhat reliant on their other senses – particularly their sense of hearing – to navigate the world immediately around them.
This makes audio stimulation – in particular, musical melodies and lullabies, like those played by things light baby mobiles and light up dinosaurs – an important tool for early sensory development. With sound helping them to pinpoint where a mobile or other toy is, they’ll be more able to look at it, even while their vision is still developing and not quite ready to pick it out without the help of sound.
3. Helps with early brain development
Musical baby mobiles can help nurture and boost your little one’s brain development and growth, like the hanging toys, their movement, and music combine to create a magical show that will capture their attention and curiosity, teaching them in the process.
Your baby will also learn how the mobile will behave, knowing that the toys will shortly follow shortly after the music starts, helping to sharpen and build their spatial awareness and reasoning. This will help to give them a better understanding of the world around them and how it works.
As well as this, mobiles – particularly those that are more whimsical – can help kick start their little one’s imagination and creativity. This can help foster a sense of wonder early on, which can help them later on, as they become old enough to participate in complex role-play and storytelling play once they’re a little older.
4. Helps relax and soothe baby, leading to better sleep
Perhaps the most obvious benefits of a baby mobile – and let’s face it – the whole point of having one, to begin with, is that they help to relax better and soothe baby. This helps get them off to bed quicker and for longer, leading to better sleep for babies and parents alike.
To get the most out of this benefit, you’re going to want to opt for musical mobiles – in particular, those that play lullabies and soothing tunes, explicitly designed to get baby off to sleep. These also work great as audio cues – as baby gets used to hearing these when it’s time to sleep, making the tunes a trigger as part of a good, regular sleep routine, getting baby off to sleep as efficiently as possible.
As any experienced parent will tell you, the key to good sleep for everyone in the house – not just baby – is implementing a good sleep routine as quickly as possible. This is hands-down the best way to both get babies off to sleep and keep them there, with as little disruption to everyone else’s sleep. This makes it important to set up your routine early, incorporating things like baby mobiles and lullabies into this routine.
5. Keeps baby entertained, preventing boredom
Mobiles can be a great tactic to stave-off boredom, helping to make your little one’s crib or cot more fun and engaging, keeping them entertained before they nod off to sleep. And it’s not just getting them to sleep either – a baby mobile can keep them engaged and entertained as they wake up, buying mommy or daddy a few extra minutes if they need to clean up, organize, or finish some other important task.
This ability to prevent boredom is especially true of more complex, multi-functional mobiles, which offer several different speed and music settings. This will help to keep the experience fresher, leading to better entertainment over time, as your little one will be less likely to tire of their mobile.
You might also want to shuffle and reorder the hanging toys every once in a while, changing their order to keep little one on their toes. And if your baby mobile allows, you might also want to modify it, adding entirely new toys and other visual elements to maximize the effect of the mobile as a visual stimulate, offering all sorts of different shapes, sizes, and colors of items.
6. Improves and develops hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness
Spatial awareness and depth perception are other essential skills that a baby mobile can help your little one to develop, providing them with a variety of different close objects that they can look at and observe, helping to build these skills.
Around the age of 3 months, your baby’s vision will have improved to the point that they can see and follow their mobile movements. This improvement in vision will see them attempt to reach out and grab the hanging toys of their baby mobile for the first time, starting to help them build hand-eye coordination.
When picking out a baby mobile, it’s always best to go for those that offer plenty of varied shapes and colors. These will provide the maximum visual stimulation for your little one, offering the most bang for your back when it comes to developing these key developmental skills.
7. Helps early language development
Baby mobiles come in all sorts of themes and styles, with everything from farm and zoo animals, to dinosaur baby mobiles, shapes, and other interesting, fun elements that will appeal to babies – there’s the perfect mobile out there for everyone, whichever your interests or preferences.
These offer a great opportunity to help with early language development, as you can introduce the names of all the animals, vehicles, or other “things” suspended from their mobile, kick-starting their vocabulary as young as possible.
Another thing to watch out for are baby mobiles that play songs – as opposed to just melodies – as the words in these songs, whether they’re nursery rhymes or other kid favorites, will also help with language, as your little one will repeatedly hear the words of these songs on a daily basis, at nap times and before bed.
Well, there you have it – our round-up of seven of the best, not-so-obvious child development benefits of baby mobiles.
Baby mobiles are a lovely addition to any nursery. They are not just great for decoration or theming but also offer a whole host of other benefits, from better sleep to early childhood development, making them one of the best purchases a parent can make their little one.
Picking out the right mobile is important – but that said, you don’t need to stress or overcomplicate it. Look for those with bright, bold colors, features like playing kids nursery rhymes and lullabies, and of course, those with plenty of interesting elements hanging from them, in all sorts of shapes and sizes, to offer the maximum visual stimulation possible.
We hope you found this article useful, and hopefully, we’ve made the case to go out and pick up a brand-new baby mobile for your little one’s cot or crib.