When a child makes meaningful eye contact for the first time it is a very special event. The bond between a parent and child strengthens. Some children give great eye contact in the first few weeks of life while others establish eye contact around three months of age. All babies are different in how they develop.

As children reach the 12 month level they are starting to use eye contact in different ways by looking at people and objects to make requests. Even if a child does not have any words they are communicating with eye gaze, gestures and different consonant-vowel combinations.

Some children give very poor or fleeting eye contact. If they look at you it is for a few seconds or they look to the side of your face. Many parents have reported that they feel as if their child is looking through them. Other children avert their eye gaze completely. Several parents have reported that their child used to have great eye contact but regressed near their 2nd birthday.

Your primary care provider can check this out and they can make a referral to a developmental optometrist. In most cases there are no vision issues.

Early Intervention providers (SLP, OT, and PT) can assess for delays and commence behavioral therapies.

3 ways to improve eye contact with your child:

1. Get on the floor and play with your child. Share an activity with them, e.g., ball play, container play, stacking blocks.
2. Bring objects or toys of interest to your eye level. When a child looks at you make a big deal of it, i.e., give lots and lots of verbal praise.
3. Remove milk and dairy products from the child’s diet. Many parents have reported sustained and prolonged eye contact from their children when dairy is removed from their diet.

If no changes occur after the aforementioned recommendations, then ask a Naturopathic Doctor to create an individualized dietary/nutritional and homeopathic plan to support your child’s development.

Sean E. Heerey ND, MA, CCC/SLP