Although parenting is one of the most challenging jobs in the world there is no formal education on how to successfully parent. There are many ways parents can stimulate the brains of their children and make use of every day events as learning opportunities.
Carlota Nelson, the director of Brain Matters shares five science-backed, easy tips to help your baby succeed in the future.
1. Encourage baby talk and treat it like real conversation
Although the sounds and gestures babies make may not seem very important, it is their only means of communication. Scientists in early childhood development suggest that we encourage baby talk and treat this as real conversation. Baby’s sounds, cues, and actions should be heard by parents and they should engage with them throughout their day. The amount of words that a baby is exposed will affect the vocabulary of their child at age 2, and later, how much they are able to read. Encourage baby babble and take it seriously
2. To help your baby learn language, read to him.
Although babies may not yet be able to read or talk, they are born with the ability to learn. They can recognize every sound in all languages, even at three months old. You are developing language skills every time you read aloud to your baby. Ask questions about the characters and story by pointing out the pictures. Asking simple questions such as “What are they wearing?” or “How many are there?” will help engage your child’s vocabulary. Reading to babies exposes them not only to new words, but also encourages a love of books and reading. Don’t forget that leaders are readers so start early.
3. Everyday experiences can be used as learning opportunities
Every life experience for babies is about learning. These activities can be used to teach children a lot, whether it’s washing dishes, doing laundry, cooking, or running errands. To stimulate language, narrate what you’re doing. To teach maths, sort laundry and play with textures and ingredients of food. It’s a great way of teaching emotional intelligence by making faces that display different emotions.
4. Play seriously
Children are constantly learning. Playing is a great way to learn important life skills. Playing with make-believe allows them to feel what it’s like being someone else and to understand other people’s feelings. They learn to cooperate and share the responsibility of their actions with others. Playing imaginatively, such as pretending that a train can travel through space, stimulates creativity and language. They also learn how to communicate their ideas verbally. Young children learn to think outside the box and find new ways to solve problems. It’s not just fun, it’s important work. Play is a serious learning process. Do not allow your child to use your phone too often. Studies show that children feel less important when they are on their devices.
5. Be an example
Babies can imitate geniuses. Babies pick up everything you do. They learn to read faces and mimic non-verbal behaviors before they can talk. Babies will learn to read your body language and how you respond to challenges. Your actions around your baby will influence the kind of person they become.
These five essential behaviors will make it easier for your baby to succeed in the future. It doesn’t take a lot of money or fancy learning materials to give your child the best tools possible for success in the future. It all comes down to you, your involvement and how much time you put into it.