The first five years of a child’s life are crucial because it is the time of rapid brain development. For this reason, many parents are always on the look out for the latest materials that can stimulate their baby’s mind. With so many educational books, videos and toys available to do just that, it can be quite confusing to choose the products that are appropriate for your baby.
But with the goal to promote your baby’s brain development, you really don’t have to go overboard by purchasing the most complex, or even the most expensive baby toys or electronic products. While these products are designed to promote brain development, these should not be used in place of conventional types of teaching.
According to studies, these products are actually not bad for as long as these are used in addition to the usual approach that involves parent and child interaction. But if parents rely only on these educational materials, it may limit a child’s learning and brain development. Thus, many experts still believe that old and reliable ways of teaching babies are still most effective in terms of maximizing their brain development.
By simply interacting with your baby each day, you are already promoting learning. Through talking, playing and reading books to your baby, you are already providing stimulation essential for optimal brain development. You can make daily interactions more effective by providing age-appropriate learning activities, and by fostering a loving and nurturing environment at home.
Since babies learn a lot through play, it is vital that you choose the right toys that can provide stimulation. Bear in mind that these should be at par with your baby’s growth and development. When a child can’t seem to figure out how a toy functions, he can easily get frustrated with his unsuccessful attempts to make it work. Try to incorporate play with stimulating activities that foster learning.
For infants, they can greatly benefit from toys that stimulate their senses. These may be moving toys with sounds like musical mobiles or rattles. It is the best time to start playing nursery rhymes with simple lyrics because it can stimulate their senses. Make it a habit to talk to your baby about everyday ordinary things. Even if he cannot talk back, he can still learn a lot of things through this kind of interaction.
As their senses mature, babies may learn from playing with textural toys that are designed for touch and feel play. Four to six month old babies may also enjoy playing with stacking toys such as blocks. These toys can also help babies develop eye-hand coordination. Music with different rhythms may also be introduced, as well as picture books with different textures.
For babies aged six months and older, you may begin associating simple words with objects. Take time to read with your baby, and help him recognize common objects on the book. Encourage your baby to participate by having him point at pictures or even objects around your home. Introduce him to the world of colors and shapes, and associate these with the common things that he can see everyday. By learning more about your child’s development you can effectively introduce the right activities that can promote learning.
Sometimes we are too preoccupied with our busy schedules that we may take for granted our child’s new skills. And while it can be tempting to just provide him with educational materials, these should never replace interactions between a parent and child. Although we live in a modern world, some old practices still work best despite breakthrough inventions.