In my last blog post, I shared some insight into your baby’s brain development during the first year of life. Now I’d like to share some tips to help you encourage your child’s development throughout year one.
Parenting Tips for Newborns through Age One:
- Talk to your infant, sing, and listen and react to your newborn’s gurgles and mumbles as much as possible. The more bonded you are to your baby, the more he hears your voice, feels your touch, smells your scent, the more comforted and secure he will feel.
- Encourage all caregivers and visitors to talk to your baby often. This will help especially during the seven-to-eight month stage, in which he will start to feel separation and stranger anxiety.
- Hold your baby as much as possible during this first year. Babies respond strongly to attachment and begin to be socialized and culturalized when accompanying mom and dad on simple outings.
- Help your baby practice and rehearse motor, sensory and cognitive advances, by creating a safe learning environment in which he can explore. Objects that can be manipulated, touched and observed, not only enhance learning, but will help your baby to test himself against his environment. Each experience will add to his insight and understanding and stimulate his brain’s associative mass. Since your baby doesn’t really begin to have controlling behavior until he turns approximately one, you can understand and empathize with him if he spontaneously hits his sibling or has a temper tantrum. Here, gently changing his environment while reminding him verbally that hitting is not okay, will remediate his behavior.
- On the other hand, when your baby throws his toy or drops things from his highchair, he is really processing an experiment with gravity. If you participate with him instead of fighting against him by scolding him and trying to control his behavior, your understanding approach will lower the decibels of your reaction while helping his intellect expand through insight and cognition.
- Give your baby a safe, open space in which to learn while being supervised. Clear out sharp and heavy objects from a living room, for example, and let your baby play on the floor with blocks, books, stuffed animals, wooden spoons, and age-appropriate toys. While this may look like mindless activity to you, this form of free play allows your child’s brain to make more connections with actions.
I’ll share more in-depth information and tips in my upcoming book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, out later this year. For now, I hope this gives you a good glimpse at some of the most common, important developmental brain stages during the first year of life.
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