As parents, wondering how to help our children develop is a natural part of parenting. We wonder how to help them eat solids, crawl, walk and every other milestone that’s reached within the first year. The truth is, a baby learns an extraordinary amount within the first year of his life, so the more help from parents, the better. Here are few things you can do to help your baby’s development.
Create a Bond
Creating a bond with your baby starts way before your little one enters the world. During pregnancy, your baby will be able to hear your voice, respond to your touch and even see light through the womb. When your baby arrives, holding him, singing to him and talking to him will be enough to create a bond so your baby feels loved and secure. It will also help your baby to develop motor skills and pick up language. Making faces will also help your baby to eventually copy- for instance, smiling back at you.
Studies have shown that sensory play can do a lot for babies after the eight-week mark. Letting your baby explore new sights, sounds and textures will bring his development on in leaps and bounds. You can help your baby by giving him touchy-feely books and guiding his hands along the different textures. Your baby may also develop a keen sense of smell, so letting him get a waft of different foods, spices and other scents around the home will excite him. Talk your baby through each different experience so he has language to connect with it.
You may think that grooming your baby is just part and parcel of their day, but they can learn a significant amount from it all. Taking a bath is an excellent opportunity for water play and developing a sense of security in the water. It’s also one of the best places to treat and prevent baby acne, cradle cap and many more while baby is distracted. Spending time with your baby brushing his teeth, combing his hair and more can be a fun way to learn things he’ll take well into adulthood with him.
In a recent study, it was said that babies who spend up to two hours a day on their tummies are more likely to start crawling earlier. The main reason babies need to spend time on their tummies is to build up strength. This is the position where they learn to hold their head up higher, lift their chests, transfer weight to their arms and legs and much more. There’s often a lot more to learning their first movements than we give them credit for, so allowing them some floor time every day is one of the simplest things we can do.
Your baby may not answer you for a while, but rest assured that he’s taking every word you’re saying in. Babies store up hundreds of words before they even say their first word, so talking to your baby every day is vital. It doesn’t have to be anything in particular; in fact, just commentating on your day is enough for baby to pick up language skills. Repeating words that you want baby to say is also one way of encouraging your baby to speak. For instance, dad, hi, milk or more.
You Are the Safe Place
Babies can go through major separation anxiety during their first year, and that’s perfectly okay. The world is still a new place to your baby and he’s learning things at a thousand miles per hour. He needs someone to be his safe place when things get too overwhelming. Allowing yourself to be your baby’s security blanket will let him know it’s okay to explore new things because you’re always there to pick him up if things go wrong. Building that kind of trust is so important to a baby’s development.
Toys are not only fun for your baby to play with, but they also help your baby’s development. Putting a toy in front of your baby will encourage him to reach out and grasp it, developing his fine motor skills. Toys that roll, like light up balls, will encourage your baby to chase it meaning your little one will have the push he needs to learn to crawl. You could also get your baby colourful toys and call out the colours as you play- it’s never too early.