One of the best things you can do to promote your baby’s learning and development is to start reading to your baby from a very early age. Even before your baby can understand the words, he or she will benefit from time spent with you and a book. This stimulus is the base for more complex learning as your baby grows. Reading helps your baby learn different sounds and understand how communication works, by stimulating cognitive functions.
Be prepared to read the same book over and over again, as repetition is the only way your baby will learn new words. Start a bedtime routine with a book, but make sure you chose chunky books with big and bright pictures.
You may also want to buy some toys to stimulate and entertain your baby. There’s an infinite range of toys available, and it’s sometimes difficult to decide what’s best.
From a very early age, your baby will enjoy looking at bright colours and exploring different textures. At this stage soft toys are the best option, to avoid any injury to your baby. You can also try mobiles with different shapes and sounds to keep your baby entertained.
As your baby grows, he or she will enjoy biting and chewing on toys, so safe teething toys are advisable. In addition, as his or her coordination improves, rattles and music toys are excellent options. You can also try stacking toys, and balls.
The claims that exposing your baby to classical music will make them more intelligent may be clearly unsubstantiated, but it is true that music is an excellent tool to promote your baby’s development. Singing nursery rhymes together or listening to music helps your baby understand rhythm and improve later development. Also, as their coordination develops, you can start dancing with your baby, which is a fantastic form of exercise for you and the baby!
An essential toy is a play mat or baby gym, where you can lay your baby down and spread some of his or her favourite toys around. A consideration to have when you use this toy is to make sure you don’t leave your baby in the same position for too long laying on his back. Give them plenty of ‘tummy time’, as this will not only avoid your baby developing flat head syndrome (where the skull flattens at the side or across the back, also known as plagiocephaly or brachycephaly), but it will also stimulate crawling.
Another important aspect is how your baby rests. During the day, modern car seats can be connected to a base and used as a buggy, which means your baby is actually spending long periods of time in the same position, risking the development of flat head syndrome.
Additionally, at night, parents are advised to place their baby in bed laying on their back to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). However, the baby must not spend too much time with his or her head in one position as this may also lead to the development of flat head syndrome. Babies may need your help to change their head position until they can do it on their own. As your baby sleeps, gently turn their head to vary the position that it rests in. For when the baby is awake, you could also place a mobile above the cot or decorate the walls with bright pictures to encourage the baby to move their head.
Post written on behalf of Technology in Motion – UK flat head syndrome clinic.