Whether you’re about to give birth to your little bundle of joy or you already have your baby and you simply are searching for all the best ways to care for them, their brain development is undoubtedly an important part of their life, especially in the first few years of life. Every moment counts with ensuring that your baby is developing as best as possible, and that means it can be helpful to look at all kinds of methods that you can use to help your baby develop. While each family and baby is different and not every technique will be a hit in each family, trying things out can give you a bit of direction and help you find which solutions work best in your life.

There are so many different ways you can help your baby develop, and ideally, you’ll both make solid habits and practices you can return to over time, as well as introduce a variety of new stimuli so your baby can get a varied experience. You can try out all different kinds of activities and techniques and see what sticks in your family. No matter what you choose, working towards your child’s brain development is something to celebrate. So here are 10 ways you can help your baby develop.

1. Read to Them

Reading to your child can help develop language skills, as well as other things like comprehension, socialization and understanding. Even if they’re too young to talk or understand language, reading to your baby can help their brain development, especially if you make a habit out of it.

2. Play Music

Similar to reading, listening to music can be like an exercise for the brain, especially in babies who are still developing sensory skills. Luckily, there are plenty of music sources designed specifically for babies — especially when it comes to classical music. However, nearly all kinds of music has the potential to be good for children.

3. Baby Massage

While you may not have heard of it before, baby massage can be a great way to build up vestibular awareness — also known as a sense of balance — in your baby. Techniques like rocking massages and gentle swinging can actually be highly effective for this. A sense of balance and equilibrium is important for brain development, and you can start it even in infancy.

4. Different Carrying Positions

Similar to baby massage, carrying your baby in different positions and getting them used to different directional movements and sensations can help some of the physical parts of brain development — things like balance, equilibrium and spatial awareness.

5. Cuddling

Cuddling and skin to skin contact can be great for your baby’s physical health as well as emotional and brain development. Not only does cuddling and direct contact help babies build better immune systems, but it can also help babies cry less on average — not that crying is a bad thing — and build communication skills. This can also be great to collect the parent or parents who didn’t carry the child in a more physical way.

6. Baby Games

Baby games, visual stimuli and other things you might naturally incorporate into your routine as a parent can actually be beneficial for brain development. Depending on the games you choose, you can help your baby develop sensory awareness, communication skills, visual skills and so much more.

7. Low Lighting

While you might be tempted to turn bright lights on in the baby’s room, studies tend to show that lower lighting and softer light sources tend to be better for the baby’s brain development as well as their eyesight.

8. Tummy Time

Let’s talk about motor skills — because motor skills and physical awareness are definitely important when it comes to brain development. And one of the best ways to build motor skills in babies is to give them “tummy time.” Tummy time is essentially allowing your baby to spend a bit of time on their stomach when they’re awake and supervised in order to build muscle control in the neck, shoulders and back, as well as spatial awareness. Most babies can even start tummy time as newborns — but of course, you should always confirm with your pediatrician.

9. Outdoor Time

Spending time outside is good for everyone, kids and adults alike, and giving your baby a bit of time in the sun can be a great way to build immunity and sensory awareness. Even if it’s just for a few minutes a day, a bit of outdoor time can do wonders.

10. Don’t Baby Talk

This one might be harder than most, especially when your baby is the cutest thing you’ve seen in all of your days. However, keeping the baby talk to a minimum can actually be highly beneficial for vocabulary development, language skills, communication and comprehension. Try talking to your baby as if they understand every word you’re saying clearly.

Helping Your Baby Develop

Each family and baby are different. That being said, there are so many ways to help your baby develop to their fullest potential. Whether you tend to be a fan of music, tummy time or reading, building whatever habits work best in your family is what will pay off in the long run.