Babies are one of nature’s most perfect learning machines. With just a little insight, a baby can be stimulated and kept content. Starting early in your baby’s development can do wonders for their mental growth in later years, and give them a large head start over other kids their age.
1 Understand babies are designed to learn. Normal activities, such as feeding, diapering, playing, singing, going for a ride in the stroller, and getting kisses from Grandpa are all “educational”. You do not need to do unnatural activities or intensely focus on “educational activities” for a baby to thrive.
2 Care for the baby. A baby needs a full belly, a dry diaper, a comfortable environment, and love for optimum growth.
3 Talk to the baby. Give a “play by play” of what you’re doing (making a cup of tea, changing a diaper, checking the mailbox. Indulge in baby talk; it’s specifically designed to stimulate a baby. Read a book together.
4 Sing to the baby. Sing nursery rhymes, children songs, your favorite songs
5 Play with the baby. Classic games like “Peek-A-Boo”, kissing the baby’s tummy, rolling a ball back and forth on are great baby activities. Dance with the baby in your arms.
6 Go outside A stroller ride can be very stimulating, visiting strange new places like the post office, bakery, park, and so on.
7 Stretch and massage. Babies love to move their bodies. Learn baby massage and baby yoga, which help calm, invigorate, and stimulate. But simply moving the baby in a way he or she likes (like clapping hands, rocking back and forth, “So Big!”) is great exercise, and gently rubbing baby down with baby massage oil is great for tactile development.
8 Procure a play gym or activity gym. These tend to be a firm favorite with babies from newborn up to about 12 months. They mostly come in the form of comfortable, quilted or softly padded play mats, sometimes raised at the edges with a space in the middle for baby. They can consist of detachable, hanging parts for small babies to try to grasp. They tend to have parts that are crinkly, soft, scrunch textures for baby to touch, squeeze and stroke. Some come with bright twinkling lights and bells and others make funny sounds, or musical sounds, and some even do both
9 Look around. Babies are fascinated by things adults take for granted: Cars zooming outside the window, fish tanks, trees blown by the wind, tumbling clothes in the dryer.
10 Pick the right toys for the right age. Be sure the toy is appropriate for the baby. While a 4 month old may find a mirror fascinating, a 6 day old won’t be able to see it clearly and a 12 month old might be bored by it. Usually educational toys have a developmental age range on the package as a guide. Be sure any toy is safe, appropriate, and clean.
11 Repeat everything you teach your baby. The more your repeat things like showing a baby how to scrunch up a ball, the quicker the connections between neurons are formed. Therefore, it naturally follows that the more positive interaction you give an infant or toddler, the more you are helping to stimulate young brains. This stimulation causes new connections to form neural pathways and strengthens existing ones. But once he or she acts bored, stop.
12 Have fun with baby. Generally speaking, anything the baby thinks is fun is stimulating and educational. Don’t worry if the baby is learning; if he or she is having a good time, he or she is learning something important.
13 Teach your baby a second language. The knowledge of a second language gives them many advantages and the best time to start is between 0 and 3 years as it is easier for your child to pick up unique sounds.
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