Research shows you can stimulate the cognitive and emotional development of your baby by the way you two interact over the first 12 months. Gavin Evans sifts through the evidence and shows you how to do it. Studies reveal a baby’s brain’s neural pathways can be developed – or be impeded – by early experience; in particular by the way their parents relate to them. Dads play a vital role here…
Five: Keep talking
Babies learn through imitation. Long before trying their first words, they experiment by observing mouth movements.
Six: Play with your baby
Babies learn by playing. From three to four months old it is worth introducing games. Do this in a way that is active and engaged (rather than just observing).
Seven: Read to your baby
Before they can understand the words, they can learn from the sounds, pictures and the contact with you. Books become a source of pleasure – giving them a headstart.
Eight: Find a new word each day and keep on using it.
Well before their first birthday, they’ll be experimenting with words.One way to help is to repeat words. It also helps to play with language – by using rhyming words.
Nine: Play music and sing
All babies respond to music, particularly if it involves singing. It can also calm – or stimulate – them.
Ten: Put your baby ‘on display’
Babies enjoy watching others and being watched, and this helps them learn. Participating in circle time at playgroups is one way to do this.