If you have a new baby at home, you may be overwhelmed and amazed at the changes your baby goes through in his first year alone. The brain development that happens in your baby, including basic problem-solving, is phenomenal in the first year. Meanwhile, your baby also begins to develop social and emotional connections.
There are many things you can do to help nurture your baby’s development during his first year of life. Here are a few simple ideas you can easily incorporate into your daily routine as a new family.
Newborn Parenting Tips to Support Brain Development
- 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.