Baby's Brain is Developing
Thanks to modern technology, we know more about early brain development than ever before. Empirical research has confirmed what every parent already knows intuitively: Early experiences are critical for shaping how babies think and learn.
Your baby was born with an astonishing 100 billion brain cells. These cells will be connected in networks as the brain matures. By his third birthday, your child's brain will have formed about 1000 trillion connections. These connections are made based on Baby's developing interests, his discoveries, and his learning about the world.
Understanding Play Habits
Watch how Baby learns from you by studying your face, your eyes, and your expressions. When Baby bats at a toy or holds a rattle, neural connections are being formed. Incredibly, these are the same connections that may one day help him hit a baseball, solve an arithmetic problem, or strum a guitar.
Observe your baby to learn what sorts of activities he enjoys. If Baby likes to lie on his back and swat at toys, lie beside him and talk about what he is doing. If he likes to be held upright, bounce him a bit and talk about what he is seeing. By supporting your baby's natural interests, you are showing respect for his development as a unique individual.
It is never too early to begin reading to Baby. Start with board books, which are short and sturdy. Baby's way of enjoying the book may be simply touching the cover or pages, trying to turn the pages, looking at you reading, and even tasting the book.
His interest in books may seem fleeting, but even a few seconds of reading make a lasting impression. The gentle sound of your voice, especially with sing-song or rhythmic text, the closeness of being on your lap, and the experience of touching the book are very important.
Before you know it, Baby will become more interested in the sounds you are making and the objects these sounds represent. It won't be long before he picks up a book, hands it to you to read, and practices saying the sounds—over and over.