All Your Baby Needs Is You
From Children's Minnesota
Every child is born amazing. What's also amazing is that 80% of a child's brain develops in the first 3 years. It’s a critical time that will largely affect their adulthood, and not just their intelligence, but who they are as a person. Luckily, the key to unlocking all of this potential couldn’t be simpler—it’s you. Right now, you are all your amazing child needs.
How You Can Help Your Child Develop
You and Your Newborn
The very first thing your baby learns is you. Within a few days or weeks of life, your newborn learns to associate the feel of your touch, the sound of your voice, and the sight of your face with the fulfillment of his or her needs. Your infant will even start responding to your voice by looking alert when you speak.
The best thing you can do to nurture these developments in your newborn is to interact with your baby as often as possible. Stimulate his or her senses in positive ways with smiles, soothing sounds, and gentle caresses. Learn more.
You and Your 1- to 3-Month-Old
After learning to recognize your voice, face, and touch, your baby will start physically responding even more, and may even greet you with a smile or “converse” with oohs and aahs.
You can encourage your baby during this stage by talking to your little one and responding to his or her vocal expressions. Keep in mind, you shouldn’t interrupt your little one as he or she speaks—your baby’s participation is important. Even singing a tune could be a fun way to interact with you child at this stage. Learn more.
You and Your 4- to 7-Month-Old
As your baby ages to the 4- to 7-month mark, facial expressions continue with lots of smiling and laughing. Your baby will also start imitating sounds—an important skill for learning to speak. Be sure to respond to your child’s noises and reinforce these sounds by repeating them. You can even introduce new sounds and simple words, then watch as your baby tries to imitate you.
At this time, you can begin to introduce everyday names and words to your baby, and even have small conversations as you wait for baby to babble in response to your questions. Learn more.
You and Your 8- to 12-Month-Old
These are exciting times when it comes to your little one’s language developments. He or she might say “mama” or “dada” for the very first time! Your baby will also pay more attention to your words and gestures, and will begin to imitate you so be careful what you say.
To encourage learning at this age, you can play games, such as asking your child to point to a specific object or body part, read to him or her, or even use music to broaden your little one’s vocabulary. Learn more.
You and Your 1- to 2-Year-Old
Don’t be surprised if your child’s communication skills skyrocket during this time. Kids at this age can better understand things and express what they want. Therefore, instead of using "baby" words, use the correct names for people, places, and things so your child has more opportunities to learn.
Gestures are also an important part of communication. To help your child develop this skill, you can play games like pat-a-cake or help make the connection between gestures and language by pointing at things you say. Learn more.
You and Your 2- to 3-Year-Old
By age 3, a toddler's vocabulary is usually 200 or more words, and he or she has the ability to compose short sentences and speak more clearly.
Your child learns by absorbing the information that you share. Some techniques to improve communication at this age include playing make-believe games that encourage imagination and vocabulary building, reading, or asking your toddler what he or she did today. Learn more.
These are just a few examples that show the important role you play in your baby’s development. So, the next time you come face-to-face with an issue relating to childhood development, know that your face is most important.