Whether you have a few little babies already or you have one on the way and you’re looking to prepare properly, there are so many great techniques you can use to support your baby’s cognitive development. Brain development is a well-rounded process, and it involves a variety of different senses and activities, and they can even grow and develop as your baby gets a little bit older. Every baby and family will be different, so you can try out different ideas and see what sits right with you.
Here are just a few things you can do for your baby’s cognitive development.
1. Arts and Crafts
Arts and crafts don’t always have to be about making a finished product — especially when you’re talking about your baby or toddler. In fact, playing around with various arts and crafts supplies can be a great way to engage your child with visual and tactile materials at the same time. Hands-on arts and crafts like clay and play dough can even be helpful for motor skills and cognitive development.
2. Reading to Them
Even if your baby is too young to understand language, reading to your child can help get them used to listening and social cues. Many parents even take to reading to babies in utero before they’re born to start the process early. Whether or not you’re whispering down to your belly, starting a reading practice can be helpful at any time.
3. Sensory Activities
Although arts and crafts can be great for developing sensory awareness, there are plenty of toys and tools specifically designed for sensory development — from slime to modeling clay to kinesthetic sand. The ability not just to play with them, but to experience variety between them, can be extremely beneficial to a child’s development.
4. Listening to Music
Much like reading, listening to music is another sensory experience that many parents like to start from the moment of conception — which isn’t always hard, especially if you enjoy music already. Even though many people have the impression that the only music that can assist in brain development in babies is classical music, exposure to a variety of styles and genres can be even more stimulating and beneficial. So pump up some jazz — or whatever your heart desires!
5. Outdoor Time
Even though many people are afraid to bring their babies outdoors, especially when they’re small, a safe and monitored amount of outdoor time can be extremely beneficial to your baby’s cognitive development. Although babies can’t run around and play quite yet, spending time in a new environment with lots of sensory stimuli and changing features can help to build awareness of nature — and if you’re a family of outdoorsy people, that can be extremely valuable.
Yes, babies can do yoga! In fact, there are so many baby yoga classes both online and in-person that are dedicated to formulating a yoga experience for both baby and parent — as well as kids’ yoga and toddler yoga for when they get a little bit older. While you might not find your infant in a downward-facing dog anytime soon, there are lots of yogic techniques that can involve your baby, and they can work to strengthen your bond, as well as their sensory and cognitive development.
Did you know that you can meditate with your baby, too? It might seem a bit difficult, as meditating usually involves a stoic and still moment of peace within your baby, but there is actually a lot to be found in meditating with your baby. Not only can this strengthen your bond — much like baby yoga can — but it can also allow your baby to experience and become attuned to your body’s sensory experiences, which can improve awareness and kinesthetic learning in babies.
8. Play With Different Toys
Everyone has their own parenting philosophy when it comes to toys — while some families prefer to keep things minimal, others go all-out. Regardless of your approach, having a bit of variety can allow your baby’s mind to consider different problems, sensations, and even just the idea of new objects. Especially when babies are young, a bit of sensory variety can do a lot more than you might expect.
9. Don’t Baby Talk
It can be tempting to baby talk to your little one, especially with how adorable and sweet they are. However, it can actually be extremely beneficial to forego baby talk in favor of normal speech. When you talk to your baby like a normal person, they can become faster and more aware as they develop language skills and listening abilities.
Your Baby’s Cognitive Development
Your baby is as unique as you are, and that means that they need their own forms of care, learning, and support. There are so many ways to support your baby’s cognitive development, from speech to toys. Do you find that your baby responds particularly well to a certain technique? Are there any new ones you’re excited to try out?