Enriching Your Baby's First Year: Development and Growth
What to expect in the first 12 months
Your Baby’s Reasoning and Cognition Abilities
Babies benefit from having a portion of the day dedicated to free play or exploration, since they learn through sensory experiences, repetition and practice, trial and error, and problem solving. “Research suggests that children who are exposed to meaningful and developmentally appropriate experiences have larger brains with more neural connections than children who had limited experiences,” says Dr. Leiderman. These connections provide for future skill acquisition and learning in general.
Place Baby in an area with age-appropriate colorful toys or other safe objects such as pots and pans. Entice baby by alternating toys and surroundings. Even babies not yet mobile will benefit from various visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli. Allow babies to explore using all of their senses by clearing the area of choking hazards, pets, and other potentially harmful impediments.
Baby Development Resources
There are many books available for parents and caregivers to learn more about Baby’s development and ideas to enrich infants through meaningful play. Baby Play, coedited by Dr. Leiderman and her colleague Dr. Wendy Masi, offers one hundred fun-filled activities to maximize Baby’s potential. The companion book Toddler Play, edited by Dr. Masi, provides activities for babies after their first birthdays. Other books that parents can read to learn more about infancy include Your Baby’s First Year: Week By Week by Glade B. Curtis, MD and The First Twelve Months of Life: Your Baby’s Growth Month by Month by Theresa Caplan.
Parents needn’t spend all day entertaining or thinking of ways to captivate babies. Busy parents can steal precious moments to bond with and enrich their little one during feedings, play, and bath time. Cherish every minute with your infant and toddler. By providing a loving, safe, and nurturing environment, your child will benefit and be on his way to lifelong learning.
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