5 Simple Things Parents Should do with their Infant to Encourage Brain Development

The Infant Brain is a learning machine!  It is exploring its new environment, learning how to manipulate and control their movements, and learning what all these new things mean.  Parents are instrumental in helping the infant brain to develop.  After all, the parent is the child’s first teacher.

Dr. Ron Ferguson of Harvard has gone through the research and has come up with 5 simple things parents should do to help their infant’s brain develop properly, which he calls The Boston Basics.  Here they are:

1  Maximize love, manage stress.  From early on in fetal development, babies are very in-tuned to stress levels of their parents.  It is well known that stressed-out pregnant moms produce hard to sooth, stressed little babies.  The infant brain learns best in a safe, stress-free environment.

2.  Talk, sing and point. “When you point at something, that helps the baby to start to associate words with objects,” Ferguson explains. Some babies will point before they can even talk.

3. Count, group and compare.  Yes, the infant brain begins to develop number skills early in its development.  Babies love numbers and counting, and there’s research to show they’re actually born with math ability. Ferguson says caregivers can introduce their children to math vocabulary by using sentences that compare things: “Oh, look! Grandpa is tall, but grandma is short” or “There are two oranges, and three apples.”

4. Explore through movement and play. Young brains (infant through early childhood) learn best through exploring their environments.  This helps establish proper connections between neurons and timing of neuronic signals.

5.  Read and discuss stories. It’s never too early to start reading aloud — even with babies. Hearing words increases vocabulary, and relating objects to sounds starts to create connections in the brain. The Basics also put a big emphasis on discussing stories: If there’s a cat in the story and a cat in your home, point that out. That’s a piece lots of parents miss when just reading aloud.

You can get the full article from NPR by clicking here.

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