Babies can grow up at an alarming rate (and not just physically!). Their brain, along with their five senses, need the right kind of stimulation for proper development. Some parents start as early as the pregnancy stage by listening to classical music and taking pediatrician-recommended supplements. Once baby is born, however, you should continue to stimulate their mental, visual, auditory, and tactile capabilities with these simple but effective daily brain-boosters.
Talk to your baby all the time
Conversing with your baby in a soothing voice is a great way to bond with them. It’s also highly effective in building language skills and word association. You can read stories out loud with your baby, or simply “narrate” things you do regularly, such as describing the colors during outside strolls, or the texture of certain objects. Doing these will also aid you in developing baby’s visual, auditory, and tactile senses.
However, talking constantly in a loud, intimidating voice must be avoided. Many people are inclined to think that this is a form of discipline, but it will only create negative associations for your baby, and hinder learning progress.
Sing, dance, clap
Let the no-holds-barred silliness help you with your baby’s brain growth. Every chance you get, sing and dance for baby, with or without music. You can also clap along to nursery rhymes and encourage them to do the same. It will help stimulate your child’s coordination skills and spark creativity at an early age.
Regularly provide all baby necessities and comforts
When your baby’s needs and comforts are met regularly, you are providing them with an environment conducive to learning. A baby who’s hungry, constantly needs diaper changing, is uncomfortable with the temperature and noise levels in the room, and who’s generally miserable will not be able to learn anything new.
Take baby out for walks
Invest in a durable and comfortable stroller that you can use to take your baby out for daily strolls. Choose one with a sun-protection canopy, a reliable safety harness, and durable wheels so you can focus on stimulating your baby’s senses outdoors. Point out trees, interesting cloud formation, and outdoor vignettes that can pique their interest. You can also bring baby to a place that’s filled with nice, aromatic smells, such as a bakeshop or a field of flowers.
Give your child gentle massages
Stimulating by touch, paired with talking in a calm voice, have been proven to aid baby with positive association. Many parents practice baby yoga on their little ones, but tactile development can be as easy as rubbing baby’s legs and arms with a gentle massage oil, and simply rocking them in your arms to sleep.
Get age-appropriate toys
Newborns and babies under a year old can appreciate a softly padded jungle gym. These typically come with playmats they can lie down on, and dangling soft toys of different textures which they can grasp or look at. Some can be installed on cribs and playpens, and can play music. As baby grows, toys usually become more colorful and educational. Soft building blocks and things that run on wheels can help with baby’s brain growth and sensory development.
Before buying a new toy, make sure to look up reviews to see if they are age-appropriate, and meet safety standards. Always be on the lookout for toy recalls so you can avoid those that pose safety and health hazards.