Children start learning from a very early age. The world around them is exciting and stimulating and every day brings something new. But every child is different and all babies don’t grow and develop at the same pace.
Here are some ways you can help your baby learn by engaging in simple activities.
Stimulate your baby’s vision
Even from a newborn, you can take advantage of the moments when your baby’s eyes are open by looking right into them. Infants recognise faces fairly early on and each time your baby looks at you they’re building their memory. Babies can also imitate simple facial movements, like closing one eye or sticking out your tongue. Letting your baby look in a mirror is also fun for them – they’ll enjoy seeing ‘the other baby’ wave or smile when they do.
Even though you may get a blank look, talking to your baby is beneficial from a very early age and they’ll tune into silly cooing and high-pitched ‘baby talk’. Singing is also a great way to engage them, as well as soothe them. Giving them cues when you’re about to do things can also teach cause and effect, for example, saying “I’m going to turn the light on now” before flipping the switch.
Make them laugh
I don’t think there’s any sound more wonderful than a baby’s giggle, and laughter is the first step in developing a sense of humour. Tickling, pulling faces and playing ‘peek-a-boo’ all stimulate laughter and can teach your baby to anticipate what’s going to happen.
Talk about things you see
When you take your baby for a walk, narrate everything you see. If you can do this in a front-facing buggy or baby carrier, it’s even better. Talk about the big trees, the little dog, or the red car. Ask if they heard the fire engine or the birds chirping – this will give your baby endless vocabulary-building opportunities.
Let your baby pull tissues out of a box and you’ve got sensory playthings they can crumple or smooth out. You can hide toys under them for them to find. Introduce them to different fabrics, like silk, wool and linen. Gently rub them against your baby’s cheek or tummy and describe to them the way each of them feels. A simple walk around the house is another way for babies to feel different things, like their hand on a cool window, a fluffy toy or the leaf of a plant.
Every day is an adventure for a baby and an opportunity for you to help them with their learning!