These simple, regular activities can aid in your baby’s continued development of language, attention, and reasoning skills as well as those of your toddler.
Your baby’s brain has 100 billion neurons at birth, which is equal to the number of stars in the Milky Way. During the first several years of life, your baby will develop trillions of neural synapses, which are connections between brain cells. Really impressive, no?
But here’s the thing: Use it or lose it applies to brain wiring. During a child’s school years, synapses that have not been “wired together” by stimulation are pruned and lost. An infant’s brain is more malleable and more susceptible than an adult’s brain, despite the fact that it does have certain neurological hard-wiring, such as the capacity to learn any language. A toddler’s brain also remarkably possesses twice as many neuronal connections as an adult’s brain.
You are giving your baby’s brain’s neuronal connections and pathways more chances to connect when you give them loving, language-rich experiences. As a result, your infant will develop sophisticated language, thinking, and planning skills. Your young child’s brain will be prepared for years of learning with the help of these simple suggestions, thought-provoking readings, and supervised, interactive activities.
- Start your child off right before birth. Keep yourself healthy while you are expecting, and be aware that some medications can harm the developing brain of your child.
- Make more baby talk. Then gently draw out your words in a high-pitched voice as you say things like “beautiful baby,” in response to the infant’s coos. The prolonged vowels and expressive facial emotions used in patentees help your youngster learn all the sounds of our language. Remember: The parts of the brain involved in speech perception and language production need your rich input.
- Engage in hand-eye coordination games. Patty-cake, peek-a-boo, this little piggy, and even puppets may occupy and hold your baby’s attention. Aside from the fact that hands-on activities are more enjoyable for both of you, using your hands demonstrates to young children how we physically interact with our world.
- Be mindful. When your young child points, be careful to follow their gaze and comment on anything that catches your attention. The fact that you are paying “joint attention” shows how much you value your child’s interests and observations.
- Encourage a young reader’s love of reading. Choose books with large, vivid illustrations, and enjoy watching your child point at certain photos or even make sounds that go with the story, such as “glub glub” when you see a fish. Change the tone of your voice, make storylines simpler or more complex, and encourage young children to discuss books. Infancy is a crucial time to focus on your baby’s receptive language development rather than his expressive language development, which involves speaking.
- Encourage your child to embrace her body. While reading, playing, or even changing her diaper, stroke her stomach and hair. Interacting with her up close also helps focus her attention on your speech, which is important because studies have shown that newborns who are not frequently handled have brains that are smaller than average for their age.
- Pick items that encourage exploration and interaction between babies. Stackable blocks and wind-up jack-in-the-boxes are two examples of toys that can teach your baby about cause-and-effect relationships and “if-then” logic. For instance, blocks will topple over if a youngster stacks too many of them without first straightening them. If he successfully arranges the blocks in a stack, he “wires in” that knowledge
- React quickly to your baby’s cries. In order to create healthy brain circuitry in the limbic region of the brain, which is involved in emotions, comfort, nurture, cuddle, and reassure her. The brain receives a signal of emotional security when you hold and cuddle your infant calmly and interact with them often.
- Establish trust by paying attention and concentrating. Hold off on checking Instagram while your child is playing. Instead, squat down and connect with him for some time. Babies that feel emotionally safe with you will have more energy to devote to the pleasures of exploration, learning, and discovery.
- Massage her all over. As a result, your baby may feel less stressed and more secure emotionally and physically. Even young babies benefit from loving contact in terms of growth: According to research, premature babies who receive three daily massages are more prepared to leave the hospital days sooner than those who do not.
- Enlist your young child’s assistance when cleaning up. This is an excellent method for classification training. Toddlers discover that just as cars, trucks, and other vehicles have a designated storage location, stuffed animals have one location where they go for “night-night” time. As part of their cognitive development in preschool, children need to learn how to sort into categories and seriate (place items in order, for example, from smallest to largest).
- Create a secure atmosphere for your toddler or baby who is crawling. Your mobile kid will start to comprehend spatial relationships between objects of various sizes and shapes, as well as terminology such as under, over, big, tiny, near, and distant (those that are big versus little, for instance). He will begin to create mental maps of his surroundings and develop a cozy relationship with the world he lives in.
- Sing the familiar nursery rhyme melodies. When you can, incorporate fingerplay and body motions (such as waving your arms while singing “You Are My Sunshine” or imitating rain falling while singing “Rain, Rain, Go Away”). Your infant will be able to link sounds to both large and tiny motor actions as a result. Songs help your youngster acquire language patterns, rhymes, and rhythms.
- Adjust the cadence of your speech to your child’s disposition. Other kids are brave and impetuous while others are rather introverted, yet some kids are able to adjust to unusual surroundings with ease. Go with the flow as you attempt to boost a timid youngster’s courage and comfort level or assist a child with great levels of energy to appropriately channel their incredible energy while developing impulse control. She will feel secure enough in your acceptance to experiment and learn at her own pace.
- Make dining enjoyable. As your infant eats, say aloud the names of the foods. No matter how untidy the first attempts may be express happiness as he learns to feed himself. With meals and eating, this will foster positive associations. On the other side, arguments and nagging about food might create bad brain habits.
- React to your baby’s actions in a clear manner. If you react to your child’s behavior in predictable, reassuring, and acceptable ways, your child’s young, developing brain will learn to make sense of the environment. Try to be as constant as you can.
- Apply constructive punishment. Establish clear punishments that won’t terrify or humiliate your child. If your toddler engages in inappropriate behavior, such as punching another kid, come close to her, use a quiet, serious voice, and recite the rule in full. Maintain clear, consistent guidelines that are age-appropriate for your child. While telling a toddler not to throw sand outside of the sandbox is fair, expecting a toddling baby to avoid touching a glass vase on a coffee table is ridiculous.
- Show others how to feel empathy. When someone appears unhappy or upset, seize the opportunity to teach your child about feelings, compassion, generosity, and kindness. The more neural pathways you build for delicate courtesies and compassionate responses, the more these brain circuits will be hardwired. This supports the development of constructive emotional skills in addition to language and cognitive learning!
- Plan supervised play with soiled objects. It might be sand, water, or even slime or goo! Your child will learn about the characteristics of liquids, solids, and combinations through this; sensory experiences are important for the learning brain.
- Show excitement and interest in your infant. Let your child’s deeply lovable character be confirmed by your body language, your sparkling eyes, your concentration to babble and baby activities, and your gentle touches and smiles.