Babies are nature’s absolute best gift to mankind! They are crafted perfectly right from the time of conception right up until birth. As a mother, you want your child to have healthy and normal development. Guess how you can do this? By playing with her!
The key to stimulating emotional and intellectual growth in your baby is your own behaviour – what you do, how you respond to situations and people, what pleases you, what displeases you, etc. If baby’s brain is hardware, then parents provide the software! The good news is that with a little guidance, combined with your mommy instinct, your baby can be kept stimulated and content. All you have to do is keep playing!
1. Babies are designed to learn
Your baby is like a dry sponge, soaking up everything…everything! So, even normal activities like feeding, diapering, playing, singing, and going for a ride in a stroller are all “educational”. Make sure you fill your baby’s world with colours, sounds and sights that will really trigger development.
2. Hugs and kisses over shapes and words
The emotional quality of relationship you have with your baby has a high impact on her brain development. We tend to follow the trending norm that a baby needs to learn an array of words, numbers, colours, shapes, etc. as early as possible. While this practice is not incorrect, developing the emotional skills of your baby is of slightly higher importance.
Emotional development is the foundation of extremely important feelings like intimacy and trust. Along with this, it plays a major role in building a variety of cognitive skills and is the foundation of intelligence, both emotional and intellectual.
3. Talk to the baby more often
If you think the baby can’t understand what you are saying, it’s time to change that! In reality, your baby understands much more than you think. Talking about every activity that you are doing with the baby- step by step- will immensely help in her brain development. Speak to your baby about the things you do every day like making a cup of tea, changing the diapers, etc. and watch just how your baby responds to you.
4. Make development fun for both baby and you
Here’s a fun experiment for you to try with your baby, preferably if your baby is around four months old. This activity helps you understand the beauty of a child’s brain and how your precious little infant is able to use his/her brain to handle the challenges of early life:
You will need something new and exciting here for your child to want to touch. Use a big teddy bear, a flashy watch or piece of jewellery you own. Show this object to your baby and note her reaction. Your baby will try to reach out to the object and grab it. This simply means your baby’s brain has detected something new and sends out a signal to reach for it. Now hide the object away under a pillow or in your pocket and note the baby’s reaction. Your baby may not attempt to look for it. This means that in your baby’s mind the object has ceased to exist.
Psychologists explain this behaviour as lack of the mental structure of ‘object permanence’ – which means that objects or people who are not around you still exist. By the time your baby is 10 months old, he/she will develop the mental structure of object permanence and will start looking out for something that he/she saw and is now missing.
However, please remember not all babies demonstrate a similar reaction time and development may vary for each baby. So don’t panic or pressurize the baby to demonstrate what you think is normal. Simply enjoy your baby and delight in the joys of parenting!