It is said that when a baby is born, his/her mind is a blank slate. The infant’s sensory experiences is what helps him understand and develop language, memory, thoughts, emotions and coordination. This in essence is cognitive development.
Parents and caregivers have a vital role to play here, especially mums because they are the one who is so closely connected to the baby even before birth. It is always said that the environment in which a child is raised has a profound impact on his/her brain.
I was really keen to do the best for my baby. When I was expecting I read up a lot of stuff online and something very interesting that I came across was about Feeding IQ to baby. A mother plays a vey important role here as she can literally feed IQ to her baby through her milk. Natural Vitamin E and DHA are essential for baby brain development. A combination of these boosts infant cognition. An expectant mom should consume food thats rich in these nutrients. After birth of the baby, breastfeeding is the best source of passing on these essential nutrients to the baby. In case a mom has difficulties in feeding, passing on these benefits through supplements works as well , as I did.
Apart from food, there are many other activities a mom can indulge in with her infant to stimulate his brain, here is a short list of what worked best for me
- Communication is key. I used to talk to my baby when she was in my womb and once she was born I continued talking to her when she lay down , her eyes wide open as she looked on. I could find she was slowly grasping what I said and enjoying it too.
- My mom and I used to sing a variety of nursery rhymes and as she was born in December, with the Christmas fever on our heads, we did a lot of carolling. My daughter looked on in glee and till date she loves dancing to “Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer.”
- We are a family of book lovers and I was more than excited to welcome my little one to the world of books. Picture books aid cognitive development – there are quality books that promote aspects of cognition like reasoning, memory, problem solving.
- As my daughter grew older we introduced games which aid cognitive development such as memory games, those that require her to think and apply basic logic. Apart from being a fun pass time for the family they also work as great stimulators. As they grow older increasing the level of complexity helps.
- Visiting new places is not just a fun getaway but adds a lot of value from point of view of giving an enriching experience to the child. These vivid experiences in turn play a vital role in infant cognition.
- Asking questions – apart from talking to my daughter, I ask her a lot of questions such as after we read a book, I ask her a few questions to see if there is a recall value. I also ask her opinion on mundane things and it amazes me at times the way she observes and interprets things around her.
- We share an emotional bond where we both are dependant on each other for comfort and support. I find this aids emotional intelligence and also aid learning capability. Something as small as a daily hug and peck on the cheek works wonders- it need not always be through words.
- Empowering my child to make choices for herself- asking her what she would like for breakfast- bread, butter, jam or idli. I let her pick the books she would like to read from her bookshelf. This helps her become independent.
- Make playtime fun with learning. My daughter loves playing with everyday household items like the cardboard box in which items are delivered or real cups, spoons, plates. I make it fun by telling her about the object- its shape, colour, utility which helps her learn and have fun at the same time.
- Me time- as surprising as it may sound, babies need it too. It helps them calm down and increase their attention span. I do give my daughter some downtime and found it works wonders.
Hope you find my tips useful, do share the activities you indulge in with your infant/toddler to boost their cognitive development.