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Develop your baby’s brain: Parenting tips

Develop your baby’s brain: Parenting tips

Did you know that up to 75% of each meal is used to develop your baby’s brain? Or that 80% of your baby’s brain is formed before the age of three?

With every hug and kiss, with every nutritious meal and shared game, you help develop your baby’s brain.

Here are some tips to help you give your child the best start in life:

Newborn Babies

Baby's brain caring tips

Find ways for your baby to see, hear, move freely and touch you. You will see that your baby’s arms and legs move in an uncoordinated way. Little by little, your baby will learn to control her movements.

Look your baby in the eye and smile at him when he smiles at you. You will see that your baby reacts positively to your movements, gestures, and facial expressions.

Talk to him in a soft tone and using his “language.” The father, mother, and other caregivers should communicate with the newborn. You will notice that he hears you and, soon, he will begin to memorize and copy your words.

Gradually change the sound of your voice. Speak slower and faster, louder and softer, louder and softer. You will see your baby’s reaction on his face and on his body and you will notice that he interacts with you.

Place your baby on his or her tummy and shake a rattle or bell in front of him or her. Raise the rattle slightly and encourage your baby to lift his head and shoulders to see how he moves. By doing this, your baby will follow the rattle with her eyes and learn to lift her head and shoulders.

Gently soothe, pat, and hug your baby. You will see him comforted and happy to feel cradled in your arms.

Maintain skin-to-skin contact with your baby. Feeling, hearing, and smelling your presence will provide a sense of calm and security.

From One To Six Months

Find ways for your baby to see, hear, move freely and touch you. Little by little, your baby will trust you.

Carefully move colorful objects for your baby to see and reach for. A simple homemade toy, like a rattle, can catch your baby’s attention by the sound she makes.

Smile and laugh with your baby. Soon, you will see that your baby smiles at you too.

Talk to him and copy his sounds or gestures. You will see that little by little he will fix his eyes on your face and try to imitate what you do.

Help him follow an object. When you see it, move it slowly from side to side and up and down. You will see how he tries to follow it with his eyes.

Encourage your baby to reach for a safe object. Try it with something like a Styrofoam cup. You will see how she tries to grab it or touch it.

Cut out simple pictures of things, people, or animals that you might know. Try to show him pictures where there are lots of different colors, textures, scenes, and faces. Talk about the pictures as your baby looks at them. You will observe how she listens to what you explain and participates in her own way.

Play with your baby. Place your baby face down and bring your hands closer to him moving your fingers. Then gently and quickly tickle him saying, “here my fingers go, there they go, closer and closer, they caught you.” To change the game, approach faster first and then slower, or wait more or less time before tickling. You will see how she shows her enjoyment by laughing or screeching.

Six To Nine Months

When you ask him a question, give him plenty of time to answer. Count to 10 mentally. If he doesn’t respond, do it yourself. Next time, try an easier question.

Pronounce your baby’s name as much as possible. He will look to see who is saying it and try to get to that person.

Don’t talk or sing too loudly, as babies can be startled.

Smile as much as possible and convey comfort and confidence to your baby.

Give your child clean, safe, and colorful objects like wooden spoons or plastic bowls to use and touch, hit, or throw.

Create picture books, puzzles, puppets, and simple dolls to develop your baby’s curiosity and help them learn new things. To make a simple puzzle, all you have to do is paste an image on a piece of cardboard or other material and cut it into different pieces.

Nine To 12 Months

Play hide and seek with your baby and see if he knows how to find the objects that you hide. You can hide something under a blanket and say: “where has she gone?”, “Can you look for it?”. You will see how your child’s curiosity grows and his willingness to discover what has happened to the object.

Tell your child the names of things and people. He should show interest and soon try to associate words with objects or people.

Teach your child to say things with his hands, like “bye-bye.” Soon, he will try to imitate you and wave “bye-bye” to himself, creating an association between a movement and a vocal expression.

Point out the eyes, nose, and mouth of a doll. After showing her one of those parts on the doll, she points out the same one on you and on him. Take your baby’s hand and have her touch the doll’s eyes, nose, and mouth, and then yours and hers. Little by little, the baby will be able to memorize and identify these words and relate them to the parts of his body.

From One To Two Years

Give your child things that they can put into containers and then take out. He will try to take them out and put them back in without help, which is great for developing hand-eye coordination skills.

Give your child things to stack. He should try to stack more things without help and then drop them, or stack them until they fall down on their own.

Ask your child simple questions and respond to his attempts to speak. He should be willing to interact by answering and/or asking more questions.

Try to talk to your child about different realities, such as nature, images, and things in their environment. The child should move and be willing to explore the environment around him.

Observe what your child does and give it a name: “you are filling the box”. He will be happy to teach you what he has learned and you will gain self-esteem.

Play with your child and offer to help: “let’s do it together. Here are more stones that we can put in your box.” These discoveries should make you happy and give you more security.

Take advantage of any opportunity to strike up a conversation with your child, also while eating or bathing him or while working with him. Soon, he should begin to understand what you say and be able to follow easy directions.

Turn simple questions into games: “where is your toe?” or “where is the bird?”. They can also look at pictures and talk about what they see. The child should show increasing curiosity and a willingness to communicate about what she sees and hears.

You may like to read How To Care For Baby’s Skin

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