September 10th, 2018
ENHANCING YOUR BABY BRAIN DEVELOPMENT
In order to develop their brain the best way, babies need the presence of an adult who is responsive to their emotional and physical needs. Human babies are designed to develop by interacting with and observing loving and caring adults. However, it is essential to not focus exclusively on the baby as making every moment about her would put pressure on her and make her anxious.
Here are a few tools and resources to help enhance your baby brain:
1. Engage warmly with your baby throughout the day. By enjoying her, engaging with her, responding to her, showing her the world, and reassuring her when she is upset, then your baby receives the foundation of emotional security necessary for her intellectual development. Studies show that infants who are the most advanced intellectually, physically, and emotionally are the ones who have caregivers who are attentive, responsive, and warm.
2. Read to your baby. Reading to your baby has multiple benefits. By exposing her to the sound of your voice, it soothes her. It also helps develop feelings of emotional intimacy between your baby and yourself as well as increase her attention span and memory.
3. Talk to your baby. Involve her and speak to her as you move through your daily tasks. Babies learn language by listening to you and others use it. Soon, you will be able to check your child’s understanding of words. For instance, ask your baby to find her favorite toy or stuffed animal. If she turns toward it, she probably knows what it is. Make simple requests such as “Wave bye-bye”, “Give me a hug” or “Throw the ball” and observe her reaction.
4. Play brain development games. Make sure to make it interactive and age-appropriate. Remember to introduce your baby to sensory games, not just cognitive ones. You may sing to her, play pat-a-cake type games, massage her, play music of different kinds for her, or dance with her.
5. Let her be on her own. While babies do need plenty of interactions with their caregivers, they also need plenty of time to play with their toes, listen to noises in their environment, stare at the dust motes in a shaft of light, or just figure out how their own muscles work.
Quality time is not necessarily busy time. Babies don't benefit from over-stimulation. All babies need time to play and explore the world in the security of a loving and caring adult, but they also need time to occupy themselves without our interference. A healthy baby has access to both types of experiences.
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As a parent and a therapist, I want to offer some tips on how to raise happy and healthy kids. Please feel free to comment on my posts.