Have you ever wondered why babies love peek-a-boo so much? As it turns out, there’s an actual scientific answer to this question.

Between four and seven months old, babies start to discover something called “object permanence,” according to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ HealthyChildren.org website. This cognitive development allows infants to understand that objects continue to exist, even if they can’t see them anymore.

photo: Esudroff via Pixabay

This also happens around the same time as the start of separation anxiety. Now that baby knows you actually exist after daycare drop-off happens, it’s very possible that the “I miss mom” crying phase will take hold. Even though the object permanence can usher in an era of separation-induced tantrums, it also makes your baby more likely to enjoy games, including peek-a-boo!

According to Dr. Gina Posner, a pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, in an interview with Romper, “Object permanence is a concept that something that is out of sight (i.e., covered) is still there even though they can’t see it. This is why peek-a-boo is fun for them, and helps stimulate their brain. They start learning that even when something disappears, it can still be there, but hidden.”

So go ahead and play peek-a-boo all day long—it just might help their development!

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—Erica Loop

 

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