A baby is born with more than 100 billion neurons bouncing around in their brain. Over the course of the baby’s first two years of development, trillions of brain-cell connections are produced to begin developing cognitive and social skills. These connections are known as neural synapses and the baby’s brain has more than twice the amount of an adult.
During this period, neurological hard wiring plays a major role in early literacy and brain development.
Stimulating the baby with language-enriched activities and nurturing communication helps wire neural connectors together. This enhances brain capacity while improving the baby’s planning, reasoning and language skills. Simple influences can connect more neural synapses, which can help the baby’s brain develop to its full potential.
7. Read to the Baby
According to Make Way for Books, 90 percent of brain development occurs before age five. Early reading experiences expand the baby’s vocabulary and improve language comprehension. Reading offers a diverse range of words and nuances that help develop the baby’s cognitive skills. More importantly, reading provides complex and sophisticated language that is not commonly used during daily activities like getting ready for bed or eating a meal.
6. Talk to the Baby
Although baby talk is fun and entertaining, speaking normally to the baby is better for brain development. Having a meaningful conversation with a baby requires the parent to respond to vocal cues with full, well-articulated sentences. A baby learns the nuances of language by listening and hearing varying inflections or cadences that can improve cognitive skills.
5. Access to Early Education
It is easier to develop the brain from birth, and as a result, early education experiences ensure developmental success. Children on track with cognitive development often have access to some form of early education experiences before starting kindergarten.
4. Developmental Toys
Giving the baby toys that encourage exploration and interaction develop cognitive skills. According to WebMD, the baby learns from the action of the toy, rather than the outcome the toy produces. Toys like stacking blocks or jack-in-the-box teach the baby cause-and-effect relationships. Additionally, these types of toys are ideal for developing reasoning skills.
3. Manage Nighttime Sleep
Unlike daytime naps, nighttime sleep is longer and more beneficial to the baby. Managing nighttime sleep speeds up executive functioning and brain development. According to Forbes, an adequate amount of nighttime sleep improves memory, attentiveness and self-discipline. Using the three step approach of a warm bath, massage and bedtime story improves sleep, which improves cognitive functions.
2. Get a Pet
Babies can learn to interpret expressions or emotions from interacting with a pet. Forbes reports that children who interacted with pets developed social intelligence skills quicker than those who only interacted with toys. This is caused by the ability of pets to mimic human body language, which babies start to interpret as emotions of happiness or sadness.
1. Share Playtime
Supervising playtime or scheduling play dates gives a baby a companion to help motivate them to build structures or solve puzzles. Babies use the motivation of others to develop and display an expanding intellect. Supervision offers positive approval that babies use as motivation to continue specific actions. Playtime with other babies starts to develop valuable social and communication skills.
Starting from birth, there are many ways to improve cognitive skills and enhance brain development. Occupying the baby with language-enriched activities and reading aloud helps boost brain capacity. These activities connect synapses, which improve brain function. Additionally, access to an early education program is one way to ensure the baby develops properly.