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Stimulating Your Baby's Intellect

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 30 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
 stimulation Intellectual Stimulation

From music in the womb to Baby Einstein, it seems that everyone has an opinion on stimulating your baby's intellect. As a modern parent, the desire to give your child the best start to life is understandable, and making sure that your child's intellectual development is on par is only natural. Add in the fact that 75% of brain growth occurs before the age of six, and suddenly stimulating your baby's intellect becomes an important proposition! But how can you make sure you are nurturing a brainy baby? Read on for some top tips!

Prenatal Stimulation

Many child development researchers believe that prenatal stimulation results in babies who are more confident and active, as well as ahead of their peers in linguistic and motor development. Stimulation may begin after the third month of pregnancy, but remember that musical stimulation should not begin until after the fifth month of pregnancy when your baby will be able to hear. Moderate, organised stimulation is your best bet, so calmly introduce your baby to:
  • Sound (musical or vocal, particularly the parents' voices)
  • Pressure (gentle stroking is a soothing movement)
  • Movement (for instance, as the mother exercises or even just sways to music)
  • Vibrations (a pattern of pressure, for example)
Remember that while you are pregnant, your physical and mental state is easily transmitted to your baby, so remaining calm during stimulation is important!

Postnatal Stimulation

Immediately after birth, babies' actions are simply reflexes. It takes time for babies to assimilate to their world and act of their own accord. As they come into contact with different items, they will begin to create categories for them and make sense of their surroundings. To help your baby, try to:
  • Speak to your baby as you go about your day. Introduce them to language early.
  • Take them outside and to other locations to expose them safely to the world.
  • Play music that your baby enjoys. Use his/her reactions as a guide.
  • Cuddle your baby and/or learn how to give a baby massage.
  • Read to your baby.
  • And don't forget to give your baby quiet time during the day to make sense of it all!

Make Learning Fun!

It may seem that every time you turn around another designer toy has hit the market. Whether it is flashcards to help your baby learn their letters, or a bright new "calculator" to help teach numbers, many of these toys are expensive and overrated. Some of the best games you can play with your baby involve every day items that will help your baby become comfortable with their world. Consider:
  • Playing peek-a-boo with your own two hands.
  • Allowing your baby to shake a rattle or even a clean kitchen spoon!
  • Dancing with your baby to music you both enjoy.
  • Enjoying the warm water of a nice bath. Create soothing, safe waterfalls.
  • Marvelling at the colours to be found in your own garden or park.
  • Exploring the textures of a variety of fabrics.
  • Singing silly songs as you go about your day.
Remember, a loving, nurturing environment is the best possible background for your child's development. Enjoy this exciting time of discovery, and have fun with your baby!

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