As parents, we want the absolute best for our children. Smart kids have an easier time in life, whether that be work, school, or relationships. So we do what we can to give them an intellectual leg-up. The best way to do that is to keep your kids mentally stimulated when they are young. Here’s how…
1. Have lots of conversations – Respond to your baby’s sounds as though they were meaningful words. If your baby makes a bunch of noises, reply “Yes, it is sunny outside today.” This will make your baby aware that his sounds can communicate you with you. Babies like “parantese,” which is that slow, high-pitched sound with elongated syllables.
2. Give lots of touch – Touch is the single most important way you can keep your baby engaged and build emotional understanding and intelligence. There is medical research that shows that children who are deprived of touch end up with smaller brains. Touch whenever you can; anytime you are near your child, changing a diaper, playing games, reading stories, etc.
3. Let them get messy! – Arrange for some time when your child can really explore new textures and sensations. Set them up with paint, crayons, clay, water, sand, or other substances that may get messy. Supervise for safety, but give them freedom to explore something they normally wouldn’t.
4. Allow for lots of free play – Pinterest would have us believe that our kids need constant structured time: lessons, crafts, art projects, parent-led exercise, specialty DVDs… Those things have some value, but truthfully all your kids need is free play time. Turn off the TV and let them guide play time. Keep crayons and paper around for spontaneous coloring. Leave the toys on the floor – forget about the mess. So what if they want to play with mom’s shoes or the refrigerator door handle? It’s still learning.
5. Foster a love of books – Even though your kids can’t read, you can create an environment where books are normal and a part play. Not only are they stimulating, but they’ll set your child up as someone who finds enjoyment in books. This will ensure solid mental stimulation for the rest of their lives.
6. Know when to stop – Children (especially babies) can become overstimulated. At a certain point, their brains tire of the new sensations and need a break. Learn to recognize the signs of overstimulation: crankiness, looking away, refusal to make eye contact, refusal to participating, quietness, and a desire to be alone. When these signs appear, reduce the stimulation and give your child time to recuperate.
How do you ensure your kids’ brains keep working?
Written by Stephanie Parker from SleepingBaby.com, inventors of the Zipadee-Zip
The motto for Sleeping Baby, makers of the Zipadee-Zip, is: "Inspiring Dreams One Night at A time," and that, in a nutshell, is how it all started…with one little dream that has since become the Parker family's reality. When Brett and Stephanie Parker's daughter, Charlotte, was born, the feeling that welled up inside of them was indescribable; they never realized until first looking into those baby blues of hers that they were even capable of that kind of love.
When it was time to transition baby from swaddling, the Parkers tried every sleep sack on the market and every swaddle weaning trick they could find for nearly two weeks and nothing worked to get baby Charlotte to fall and stay asleep.
Stephanie became determined to restore sleep and sanity to their household and set out to find a solution that would soothe Charlotte's startle reflex and provide her the cozy womb-like environment she loved so much but still give her the freedom to roll over and wiggle around in her crib safely. Out of sheer desperation and exhaustion, the Zipadee-Zip was born. The first Zipadee-Zip(R) Stephanie put together on her little sewing machine worked like magic!
To date tens of thousands of Zipadee-Zips have been sold and all from word-of-mouth marketing. It is so rewarding for the Parkers to see other parents and babies getting the sleep they both need and deserve!
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