The human brain is one of the most complex and wondrous things in the universe and its full potential has yet to be realized.
One thing is certain, though: your brain, the most complex organ in the human body, begins to develop very early.
Fact: When it is born, a baby’s brain contains 100 billion nerve cells called neurons, an amount approximately equal to the number of stars in our Milky Way galaxy. As the baby grows, literally trillions of cellular connections, known as synapses, occur. Then, the more the baby’s brain is stimulated, the more those connections become fused together. This is how intelligence and reasoning come to be.
As the baby grows, literally trillions of cellular connections, known as synapses, occur. Then, the more the baby’s brain is stimulated, the more those connections become fused together. This is how intelligence and reasoning come to be.
Then, the more the baby’s brain is stimulated, the more those connections become fused together. This is how intelligence and reasoning come to be.
The result, hopefully, is a smart, sensible, affectionate, and successful adult – and a wonderful parent as well. Here are steps you can take to guide the baby along that path:
Here are some steps you can take to guide the baby along that path:
- As the Beatles said, “Love is all you need.” Give the baby heaps and gobs of attention. Respond immediately to crying with comforting caresses and sweet-talking reassurance. He doesn’t understand the words but that’s irrelevant. It’s the soothing tone of voice that matters. Feel like singing? Please do!
- Breastfeed if you can. Studies show that breastfed babies have more so-called “white matter” in the brain, a tissue related to such functions as language, emotion, and comprehension
- Let him see you reading. No, he can’t read yet and doesn’t know what a book is but he will understand that the object you are holding is giving you pleasure
- Use your eyes, often. Simply look at the baby. This help mother and child form an essential bond and readies the baby to take in information and process it
- Hands-on is good. Don’t just hold the babe in your lap. Bounce and wiggle him. Stroke him. This will result in strong motor skills later in life
- Let the music play. Some studies have shown that early exposure to classical music makes for “smart” adults. This may or may not be true but one thing’s for certain: music of the proper tempo and timbre is inevitably relaxing, particularly for babies from birth to three months
- Expose the baby to plenty of color and movement. Nothing helps develop vision and other important functions more than bright colors and lots of activity. A bright mobile above the crib or bassinet is a wonderful idea
- Don’t be afraid to get messy. Schedule (strictly supervised) playtime with water and sand – yes, even clay and mud. This exposes toddlers early on to the concepts of physics, such as what happens when items are mixed together
- Make connections. Beginning at about age six months, start showing the tot the relationships between sights, sounds and words. Sing or play songs where phrases are repeated over and over. Point to Aunt Marta and tell him it’s Aunt Martha
- Don’t leave the baby “parked.” Carry him to different parts of the room. This stimulates and develops his awareness and appreciation of his environment
- They’re age-old and time-tested for a reason: games like peek-a-boo, patty cake, hide-and–seek and others from our own childhoods stimulate perception and creativity
- Don’t get hung up on “educational” products and experiences which can be expensive and time-consuming. Everything that baby does and happens to him involves learning, from touching the dog’s nose to getting in and out of his high chair to simply kissing his sister.
- Imitate the sounds the baby makes. This kind of interaction offers a positive affirmation of behavior.
Whether taking the above steps will produce another Einstein or Mozart is a matter of pure conjecture and, perhaps, fate. But you’re certainly greasing the wheels for his journey through life, wherever it will take him.