By Cara Johnson-Bader
As a new parent, you want to give your baby the best start in life, and a wonderful way to give your baby the best start is through brain development activities. It might seem like a daunting task, but boosting your baby’s brain does not need to be complicated; in fact, it can be a simple part of your daily routine.
At New Horizon Academy, we know that the best way to help your baby’s brain is to actively engage her through everyday activities like talking, playing, reading, and comforting her when she feels stressed.
Here are four everyday activities that help your little one’s development.
One-on-one time –The number one brain booster for your baby is one-on-one time with you. Responsive, warm, and supportive interactions between you and your baby build the foundation for learning.
Talking – Talk to your baby about what you are doing. Describe what you see together, such as, “Here is a bird. He is red. See him fly in the sky.” As your baby begins to babble and coo, talk with her as though she is carrying on a conversation with you.
By talking to your baby, you are helping her develop her vocabulary. All that babbling and cooing is your baby’s pre-language skills developing. Studies have shown that the number of words a child learns by the age of 3 grows in direct correlation to how many words are spoken in the home.
Playing and singing – Research highlights the importance of playing with your baby. Essential elements of your little one’s growth are all developed and fine-tuned through play. Skills such as developing a healthy self-confidence, strengthening listening skills, improving language skills, and growing important physical skills are all developed through play.
Whether it is games like “Peek-a-Boo”, “Pat-a-Cake”, singing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”, or using puppets, this playing and singing fosters imagination and creativity and helps promote language development.
You may think, “Well, I am not a good singer.” That is just fine. Your singing voice does not matter. You are singing to you baby, not being judged on American Idol, and your baby loves the sound of your voice and the attention you are giving him.
Reading – Reading to your baby is one of the most powerful things you can do to support brain development. Studies have also shown that children who were read to as newborns have a larger vocabulary, as well as more advanced mathematical skills, than other children their age and are better prepared to eventually start reading on their own.
You are the best brain builder for your baby, and it is through everyday interactions that you help your baby grow and develop.
Cara Johnson-Bader is the Vice President of Marketing and Parent Experiences at New Horizon Academy and mother of two young boys. Learn more about New Horizon Academy at newhorizonacademy.net.