At birth, your baby has about a hundred billion neurons yet to completely develop. During your baby’s initial years, s/he starts growing brain cell connections or neural synapses which help in impulses and sending these to the different parts of the brain. Your child’s school years are the most primitive time for cognitive development. An infant’s brain is more vulnerable than an adult’s and therefore has twice the neural connections present in an adult.
when you talk to your infant, you are helping his/her brain to wire together the brain’s many neural connections together. This helps in enriching your baby’s language, reasoning, and planning skills. On the whole, your child’s cognitive ability increases. Here are a few tips you can follow to help enrich your infant’s brain.
1. A Physical Headstart
Even before your baby is born, what you eat and ingest affects the baby majorly. Therefore, avoid popping any pills without your doctor’s consent. It is known that many children who struggle with learning problems were drug abused while in the womb. Smoking or drinking during pregnancy can lower the fourth-grade reading scores of your baby. The first tip in increasing your baby’s brain function is to keep yourself healthy and toxic free during your pregnancy.
2. Converse With Your Newborn
Though your newborn doesn’t understand what you speak and cannot essentially respond back, studies show that having meaningful conversations or cooing your baby with sweet nothings can help with your baby’s brain development. This helps the areas in your baby’s brain responsible for understanding speech and producing language develop.
3. Play Simple Games
Studies show that babies respond better to simple sequential games which involve the movement of hands such as a peekaboo, this little piggy.
4. Pay Attention
If and when your baby points at something, follow their finger and comment or remark on what caught his/her interest. When you follow your baby’s interest, this gives him/her the confidence that your baby’s interests are important to you.
5. Develop A Passion For Books
Start reading to your baby at a young age to foster a reading habit. Select books that are large and colorful with pictures. Make noises that go with the animals when you read an animal book. Also, modulate your tone and narrate stories elaborately. Building your baby’s receptive language (understanding what we speak) is more important that expressive language (speaking) during infancy.
6. Build Emotional Connection
Have times of love sharing and emotional bonding. Stroke your infant’s hair and tummy. Studies show that babies who are often touched by their mothers have better brain development. Use moments such as diaper changing, breastfeeding, and bathing to develop an emotional connection with your newborn.
7. Choosing Toys
When you buy play toys for your newborn, choose toys which allow your baby to explore. Toys such as jack-in-the-box or stackable blocks help your baby learn if-then reasoning and cause-and-effect relationships.
8. Respond To Your Baby’s Cries
When you see your baby crying, respond promptly. Cuddle, nurture, and soothe your baby and reassure him/her to build a positive brain circuit in the limbic are of your baby’s brain. This region corresponds to emotions in your baby’s brain. The calm holding and nurturing helps your baby signal and remember emotional security.
9. Build Trust
It is said that babies who are emotionally secured with you will invest more energy in exploring, learning, and discovering new things.
10. Body Massages
Give your newborn body massages every now and then to decrease his/her stress and increase his/her emotional security and well-being. Touch your baby often to promote growth both physically and emotionally.
11. Create A Safe Environment
Ensure you create a safe environment in your house for your toddler. Spatial learning can be learned by understanding parameters such as far, near, on, up, and under. Your infant will then develop mental maps of this familiar environment and form a comfortable relationship with the world.
12. Sing To Your Baby
Sing rhymes and baby songs to your newborn with hand motions and signals to help your baby integrate sounds and actions.
13. Note Your Child’s Temperament
Recognize your child’s temperament and act accordingly. While some children can adjust to new and strange situations easily, some are shy. Watch what your newborn acts like in a strange situation and go with the flow. Make your baby feel safe and secure and keep him/her at a comfort level.
14. Make Dinner Time Positive
While you feed your infant, say the names of the foods out loud and express joy when s/he learns to feed him/herself. This will help develop a positive idea of mealtime and eating.
15. Respond To Your Baby’s Actions
Respond to your baby’s each action and do so in a reassuring and appropriate way. Also, be consistent with your responses.
16. Positive Discipline
Teach discipline to your child without frightening or causing shame to them. If your infant misbehaves, refrain from violence. Instead, get to his/her eye level, use a low, stern voice and state clearly. Keep the rules simple, reasonable, and consistent.
17. Teach Empathy
Use moments to teach your toddler about empathy. When someone is upset or sad, teach your toddler about feelings, caring, sharing, kindness and other feelings.
18. Supervise Them Outdoors
When you allow your child outdoors to play in the sand, water or mud, supervise them. Outdoor playing is a way of teaching your young one about physics and properties of mixtures and textures.
19. Show Interest In Your Little One
Use body language to show how much love and interest you show in your toddler. Let your eyes shine, have a broad smile and speak to them to show your attentiveness.
20. Let Your Toddler Help Clean
Once your baby is done with play time, let your little help in arranging the toys back. This encourages a habit of putting the toys away after playtime and also helps them learn about categories and sorting.