We all want our little ones to have the best possible start in life, and anything we can do to help them to advance and learn from the very beginning will often pay fantastic dividends going forward. When they are particularly young, however, you’ll find yourself will less time than ever before and it can be challenging to focus on helping brain development in amongst the myriad of other things that you have to take care of.
That’s why it makes perfect sense to focus on a few quick and easy tips so you can work on something without a schedule. If you have a few minutes here and there or, better yet, can add these tips into your regular routine, you’ll start to see results without any extra effort.
1. Try to Focus on Individual Noises at Any Given Time
Young children do not cope well with a jumble of noise, and they are incapable of filtering out specific sounds. Indeed, even just being out an about can lead to them taking in various noises at the same time, without learning anything as they are unable to differentiate between them. At worst, this can lead to the baby becoming confused. While some of this jumbling is unavoidable as you go about your day, try to make time for them to focus on a single sound – even your own voice will be enough to help them to recognise specific sounds and to develop their own speech.
2. Keep the Lights Down
If you are fortunate enough to be in a position to keep the lights lower than their full capacity, you’ll be able to reduce your baby’s focus on the light and enable them to take in other information from their surroundings. It is easy to forget that they spent months in the dim light in the womb, and they need some time to adjust. If you have smart lighting, you can control the brightness from your phone, or it might be worth investing in dimmer switches in rooms where you spend a lot of time.
3. Skin to Skin Contact Helps the Brain
If you attended classes, read books or did just about anything educational in preparation for your baby’s arrival, you’ll undoubtedly have seen skin to skin contact mentioned as an essential component of development. It leads to improved digestion and temperature regulation, better sleep and, crucially in the context of this feature, better brain development.
4. Show Them Bold Images
The fact that babies can have trouble with more complex stimulation is unavoidable, but it is also every reason to ensure that you expose them to a rich and varied selection of pictures as they grow. For the first few months of their life, their eyes are the primary way in which they learn about their surroundings, so take the time to show them pictures, books and other sources to help them on their way.
5. Give Them Time to Move Around
Every newborn is different when it comes to activity levels. Some like to explore in any way possible, while others are content to remain still most of the time. You should try to accept their preference, but give them the opportunity to move around as much as they like. They spend a lot of time in a fixed position, like car seats and high chairs, so let them roam free on the floor as much as possible.
6. Talk as Much as You Can
The time will come when it feels like far too much of your time spent talking to your young one feels like you need to tell them off. Make the most of their younger months and tell them about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. They won’t respond, of course, but they will take everything in and use the information to assist in the formation of their own speech patterns.
7. Introduce New Sounds Often
Again, it can be hard to tell if and when your baby understands something specific, given that they are unable to talk back to you about it. However, new experiences challenge the brain and encourage it to grow, even if your child is unsure of the specifics. Focus once again on a single sound at a time but keep them varied. It could be something on TV, music, or even you making a drink – all these different sounds will contribute to overall development.
8. Focus on Hands
Your baby’s hands will soon become a primary method of exploration and transportation, so it is a good idea to work on them from an early stage. Play games that involve the baby grabbing, pointing and clapping. There are suggestions that if you can convince your baby to wear brightly coloured mittens as they explore, they will learn what their hands are for and what they can do with them earlier on in development.
9. Help Them Learn to Love Reading
Books can do so much in a baby’s development. They can be a source of the pictures we have mentioned already, and can even help you with unique sounds. Even before they can read, books explicitly designed for them will help them to learn and grow. Make sure to have a decent variety on hand, as while repetition can be massively beneficial; new experiences are just as meaningful. Make sure to update your collection regularly too so that they don’t outgrow the benefits.
10. Allow Your Baby to Take Up All Your Attention
When you spend time with your developing baby, they should be the central focus of all your attention. This not only gives you the best chance to help them learn but also fosters a sense of trust and caring as they grow to count on you as the most important person around. Interact with them as they explore and learn, and you’ll continue to do so as they get older.