Baby Brain Boosters
By Tanya Schoor
All parents want the best for their children. From the day your newborn arrives home from the hospital to the day he or she leaves the nest, nurturing your child is your biggest priority. Even when newly pregnant, there is an endless supply of information suggesting how to mold your child into the best and brightest. It can all be very intimidating, but with a little research and self-assurance, it really is possible to sift through the details.
When you first learn you are pregnant, your baby’s health is at the top of your mind. A healthy diet and nutritious choices will boost your baby’s brainpower even before he or she enters the world. Omega-3s are a crucial component to eating well. DHA supplements are also invaluable, both while pregnant and when you are breastfeeding. Consult your doctor and follow a well-balanced plan. Overall, a healthy diet can result in significant improvements in your child’s visual, cognitive, and behavioral skills.
Once you bring your baby home, you will want to figure out the best ways to appeal to his or her senses and help this little person grow accustomed to a big, new world. The vast supply of baby toys designed to accomplish these goals can make it difficult to know what to choose.
Amy Kane, a mom of two in Aldie, VA, suggests toys that are “brightly colored and of different shapes and textures.” Babies benefit from exposure to a variety of stimulants to help build recognition. Stacking toys, a popular first baby toy, are excellent for learning cause and effect relationships. For example, if a larger object is stacked on a smaller one, it may fall. Selecting toys that are simple, yet effective, is key.
One of the best baby brain boosters is simply reading. Stock your child’s bookcase with a variety of options that challenge the senses. If you have some down time, you can even stop by your local library for together time and a good book. Picture books are great for word associations and for helping children recognize features and objects. Even just hearing a parent’s voice as a story is read can be soothing and benefit a child’s cognitive development.
Exposing your child to music and language variation can be useful for development as well. It has been widely theorized that music, particularly classical, has the effect of boosting intellect. What is certain is that music can reduce stress and promote relaxation. Music is also a wonderful tool to familiarize your child with different sounds and rhythms. Similarly, hearing different languages will help your child to grow accustomed to modulations in words and accents.
Your child’s development is undoubtedly your focus when you bring your new baby home. With so much information and advice available, you may feel overwhelmed. Friends and family with experience are invaluable supports. You’ll also find what works best for you. Internet research can help you gather ideas and suggestions, but as the old adage goes, “Mother knows best!” Following these words of wisdom will surely help your baby thrive.
Remember, that most of all, time spent with your baby – talking, reading, sharing, playing, cuddling, eating –will all open your little one’s senses, strengthen your bond, and help create a solid foundation for future learning.
Tanya Schoor is an enthusiastic freelance writer in Northern Virginia who enjoys researching activities and ideas that benefit Washington area families. She and her husband look forward to starting their own family soon.