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The first year of the baby is said to be the most important phase in her development. Known as the stage of cognitive development, the development of the five senses – touch, feel sight, smell and taste – provide the platform for further growth.
Your baby’s brain starts whirring with activity and absorbing from the environment right from the moment she is born. Linking the smell of milk to her mother, knowing that crying will get her attention, calming down when she is rocked – are all signs of cognitive development in the baby.
A baby’s five senses are a very crucial aspect of her developmental graph. Babies use smell, taste, touch, sight and sound to correlate the happenings around her and make sense of it.
Tasting and touching are the first set of senses to be completely explored. Be it the hot mug of tea, or the spicy piece of pickle on your plate – she will want to try it all. This is how she will begin to associate with hot objects being placed in a mug or spicy to the colour red and so on. And you, as a caregiver, will be an integral part of this crucial phase. Even when she has experienced the connection, define it in words. This will help her connect the touch, sight and the words, associated with them, to arrive at the conclusion. And if, after this, you find her being wary of mugs or red objects served on a plate, credit her developing memory for it. Soft toys with distinct features are also useful in developing memory skills in children. Your kids will have a lot of fun giving them names and carrying on conversations with them!
Cause and Effect
This is yet another basic learning you will see her exploring. When she tugs the string of her cute pull-along toy, it comes towards her – this fact must be filling her with a sense of wonderment. Or for that matter, when she tries to get up without holding on for support, she will fall. She will soon realize this too. Let the children explore all this on their own. Experience is the best teacher, they say. So, while you are around to keep an eye that no harm comes on her, let her try these stunts and falter; she will learn better. She will be more careful in future, when trying to get up.
It is imperative that you baby-proof your home before your child wears her explorer suit and sets out. She will try to see what happens when she pulls the wire peeping out from behind the television set or what happens when she throws the iPhone6 on the floor. While it is okay to stop her once or twice, constantly dissuading her would only come in way of her learning.
The Encouragement She Needs
Be your little one’s partner in crime. Head on these secret expeditions with her, and join in her glee when she has learnt something new. Show her that you are proud of her. Also, tell her clearly that it may be dangerous. In that case, she will know your expressions when you are worried or even afraid, as against happy and relaxed.
Your baby’s understanding is shaped by your own conversations with her and reactions to situations and objects. Saying words you use, making expressions just like you, gesticulating as you do – this is just the beginning of her mirroring abilities. So, be careful what you say and be around her since she is constantly observing and learning.