As a new parent, the healthy development of your baby is your most important goal. It can also be your biggest source of worry. Is she hitting the right developmental milestones? Should he be able to pick up on facial cues and language by now? Should she be smiling and talking yet? You want to know what you can do to help them develop to their fullest potential. The good news is that, these days, there is a wealth of information on how to help your baby thrive and grow in all areas from speech and language to cognitive development.
Your child’s brain is in the midst of a tremendous period of growth and development from the time he or she is born until about three years old. During this three-year span your child’s brain creates over a million neural connections every single second! Isn’t that just astounding? One of the most important areas where you can help your baby grow is in the realm of cognitive development.
Cognitive development refers to your baby’s ability to think about and understand the world around them. It refers to the acquisition of knowledge, skills and dispositions that help baby think, explore and problem-solve. You can do things to foster your baby’s cognitive development as soon as they are born. In doing so, you’ll provide your child with a strong foundation for lifelong success.
According to the CDA Council, young infants through 8-month olds are beginning to:
- Imitate facial expressions and gestures of others, like smiling
- Explore using motor skills, such as turning head, sucking, kicking, grasping
- Repeat actions to make things happen or to get adults to repeat an action
- Use gestures, like waving, to communicate
So What Can I Do to Foster My Infant’s Cognitive Development?
There are a variety of cognitive learning activities you can do with your new baby to help support and promote growth in this area. Here are a few ideas of things to do with your new baby.
Read Often and Expressively
You may think new babies are too young for stories, but think again! Reading to your baby is a wonderful way to bond and will help foster cognitive development. Just be sure to read slowly and use a variety of voices for each of the characters. And show your baby the pictures, too!
Talk with Eye Contact
Make sure your baby can see your face and eyes when you talk to them. Be expressive. Speak with a slower cadence. You’ll see them focusing on your mouth as it forms words. This is the first step in how babies learn language so do this as often as possible and encourage other family members to do the same.
Encourage Your Child to Reach and Grasp
We want to make everything easy for our children, but that’s not always the best approach. To support cognitive development, experts recommend placing a few favorite toys just out of your baby’s reach; encouraging them to reach for it. Nora Newcombe, a trusted developmental psychologist of Temple University says “As you interact [with your environment] through grasping and crawling, that propels developmental change.”
Get Hello Wunder
Hello Wunder - the first AI parenting platform that is clinically-proven to boost a child’s cognitive & language - has been shown to create a “26% improvement in cognitive development over a 12-week period” in babies. With Hello Wunder, you get personalized activities to stimulate cognitive development and language in your baby.
You want the very best in life for your little one. Encouraging and supporting cognitive development with specific activities is sure to give your child the head start you hoped for.