My wife is a play therapist, so I’ve picked up a few things along the way. When we were in college, she talked (often) about what she was learning in her many child development classes. Did you know that your child learns the most before the age of five? It starts much younger. between the ages of 0-3, your child learns so much and learns to interact with us.
According to the Urban Brain Institute: “Because experiences have such a great potential to affect brain development, children are especially vulnerable to persistent negative influences during this period [0-3 years]. On the other hand, these early years are a window of opportunity for parents, caregivers, and communities: positive early experiences have a huge effect on children’s chances for achievement, success, and happiness.
The fact that children are affected by their surroundings is too obvious to bear repeating. Child development specialists have produced decades of research showing that the environment of a child’s earliest years can have effects that last a lifetime.”
2- Interact with your child. Use music as a jumping point to do this. Did you know that music has a link to advanced math skills, foreign language aptitude, memory, and focus, to stimulate a baby’s brain development starting at the 5th month of pregnancy to the second year?
2- By one year, your baby will start to prefer you and begin to cry when you leave. This separation anxiety is normal and healthy. Just tell your baby goodbye and that you will be back. Do not sneak out. This will only make your baby more anxious the next time that you are around since he/she won’t know if you are going to sneak out again. With that being said, remember that it is a good thing to let your baby be with other people that will love & care for her/him.
3- TEACHING: You can start showing your baby more books and flashcards. An example would be to teach him/her about the dog. Show your baby a picture of a dog and say “Look at the dog. Ruff, ruff.” Continue to do this. (Teaching body parts, animals, vehicles…) By 12 months, your baby will be able to point to the correct picture when you show him/her more than one animal and ask “which one is the dog?”
4- Teach your baby new words.
Say a word to your baby and they will try to repeat the word (or at least babble back to you). Don’t be too concerned if this does not happen yet, just keep working on it. Your child should be saying single words (Mama, Dada) by a year, but every baby is different and this may vary a little. Some don’t start until 18 months. If you do not see this happening by 12 months, you may want to bring it to your pediatrician’s notice (just mention it at their 1-year appointment). Most doctors will not suggest speech therapy until close to two years of age. One of our kids didn’t talk until closer to two and now talks up a storm.
5- Spend time with your baby.
Bath time, bedtime, reading time… all times that you can spend together. Talk and sing to your baby. Look in your baby’s eyes (this is very powerful for an infant) Every moment counts.