There are lots of changes that happen in your baby’s first year, from depending on you for everything to teaching themselves how to crawl. One day, you’ll be surprised to discover that your little one is already learning how to eat on their own!
A baby’s brain contains about 100 billion neurons, which is as many as the stars in the Milky Way! Their brains are developed by creating an intricate network between these neurons.
However, your baby’s brain isn’t going to develop on its own. It will need your help to expose it to positive and nurturing experiences (and nutritious food too) to build those lasting brain connections.
It may seem like a daunting task as a parent, but bridging those neurons doesn’t need to be complicated. You can treat it as if you’re introducing a new routine.
That’s because your baby’s brain is more open and adaptable to acquiring new skills through enriching influences than the adult brain. It’s even more flexible than your brain.
Today, we’d like to share more about what you can do to enhance your baby’s development. These are easier to do than you think!
Ways To Boost Your Baby’s Brain Power
Read to them
No other activity can exercise your baby’s brain quite like reading! Even before your baby can understand letters or words, reading to them is a great way to kickstart the development of their language and communication skills.
While reading, point out the different images on the page and adjust your tone according to the context of the story. You can make this an even more engaging activity by using storybooks with large images and bright colours which are sure to attract your baby’s attention.
Through this, your baby will recognize that these words and sounds are connected.
And don’t think that repeating the same books is boring – it actually plays a huge part in the learning process! Repetition builds and enforces connections between the words you say and the images they see on the page.
As your baby grows, you can try to slowly integrate simple questions, such as “where’s the cow?” or “where’s the big blue house?”
Use different ways of interaction
Your everyday interactions play a huge role in your baby’s development too. From talking with them to making silly faces, there are lots of opportunities to engage with your baby daily!
First, talking with your baby can help in their language and communication development. It’s similar to what happens during reading time: when your baby is exposed to and hears more words, it improves their understanding of the language.
Any form of talking works, so try to communicate with them as much as you can throughout the day. It may feel as though the interaction is one-sided at first, but soon you’ll see that your baby is trying to join in on the conversation!
Babies usually use eye contact to communicate. Later on, they might smile, laugh, coo, or move a part of their bodies to let you know that they’re listening.
Another way to interact with your baby is through making silly faces, like sticking your tongue out. This particular gesture actually encourages babies to practice tongue control, which also helps with speech and eating development.
Babies typically use cues to communicate and this is done through making sounds, babbling, smiling, or even pointing/looking in a certain direction. When your baby points or looks in a certain direction, follow them with your gaze and take note of the items that may be of interest to them.
When it comes to interacting with your baby, let your body language and facial expressions speak! They understand these more than you think.
Let them play with educational toys
Research shows that playtime is a crucial aspect of a child’s health and development. Aside from helping them to understand how the world works, it allows them to build social skills, language skills, and organisational skills.
Even in the early years of development, a baby’s mind expands simply by observing their environment and taking in their surroundings.
That’s why it’s important to put together a nursery that encourages both physical and mental stimulation. Something that can make nurseries more conducive for playtime is by including educational toys.
These types of toys teach problem-solving skills, nurture their imagination and creativity, and develop fine and motor skills.
Additionally, children can benefit from educational toys even as early as one month old. So start introducing your baby to toys like dance mats, building blocks, activity cubes, touch and feel books, and pop beads.
These toys will not only exercise their bodies but their brain as well!
Give them comfort
Just like adults, babies can feel stressed too.
Whenever your baby shows signs of sadness, discomfort, or pain, there’s no better person to run to their rescue than you. The simple acts of holding, cuddling, and soothing them during these times can help them calm down.
Responding to your baby’s cues is an important form of communication as well, and even more so when your baby is sick, hungry, upset, or needs your attention.
These gestures build positive brain circuitry in the limbic area of the brain, a part that’s involved in emotional development. Studies also show consistent caring and supportive acts help babies handle stress better in the long run.
For a developing brain who’s learning to make sense of the world, responding to your baby’s behaviour lovingly can help them become level-headed adults in the future.
Encourage skin-to-skin contact
Your baby’s sense of touch develops while they’re still inside your womb, even as early as 7 weeks of pregnancy.
Babies first learn about themselves and the world through their sense of touch. It helps them navigate their surroundings, identify objects, register temperature, and feel pain.
Through every touch, babies learn about their bodies, surroundings, and the people around them. Its impact goes beyond short-term development during infancy and early childhood, highlighting the importance of touch to babies.
It’s easy to encourage skin-to-skin contact with your little one and there are different ways to do it.
In the first few months, try a harness-style carrier or some type of baby carrier to keep them close to you throughout the day. It allows them to be familiar with your touch, especially in the weeks after birth.
You may also find that stroking their face, feet, and stomach can also increase their alertness in the hours after a good night’s sleep or after taking a nap.
ALSO READ – 10 Secrets to Live a Happy Life
Another way to practice skin-to-skin contact is by gently stroking their back and legs to calm them down whenever your baby is crying or scared.
Taking a bath with them and changing their diapers can help to strengthen your bond as well, proving that you don’t need to go the extra mile to show affection to your baby.
Through simple gestures, your little one can feel comforted and safe around your presence.
Boosting your baby’s brain development
It’s worth reminding parents that supporting your baby’s brain development doesn’t need to be a complicated and daunting process! Sometimes, all it takes is your time, presence, and a little extra patience.
This process will be a lot easier if you set up the right environment for it, such as putting together a conducive nursery room and filling it with the items to boost their development! If you need a hand in decorating your baby’s space, don’t hesitate to give us a call!