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11 Simple Things I Did Everyday to Boost my Baby’s Cognitive Development


September 26, 2018 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ MyFriendAlexa2018,Toys, Books, Activities


11 Simple Things I Did Everyday to Boost my Baby’s Cognitive Development | Baby & Beyond

Last month I wrote about brain foods to boost cognitive development in babies. Many of you reached out to me to ask what else can be done to boost your baby’s brain development. The answer is that the amount of stimulation an infant receives directly affects brain development. Activity in the brain creates electrical connections called synapses. The “use of or lose it” phenomenon applies i.e. repetitive stimulation strengthens these connections & those connections that don’t get used maybe lost.

 

Also read: 8 Brain Foods to Boost Cognitive Development in Babies (and how to serve them)

 

Ages birth to 5 years are the most critical in brain development. As parents, we have the opportunity to encourage stimulation and contribute to our baby’s cognitive development. So here I am sharing 11 simple things I did almost everyday to boost my baby’s cognitive development.

 

11 Simple Things I Did Everyday to Boost my Baby’s Cognitive Development | Baby & Beyond

11 Simple Things I Did Everyday to Boost my Baby’s Cognitive Development | Baby & Beyond

 

1. Talked to him all the time:

Talk to your baby as much as you can. Even though it may seem strange at first to keep talking to a baby who doesn’t understand it, the young mind is absorbing everything. Research shows that the more words a baby hears in his initial years, the higher his IQ will be. I used to tell Baby N about my day, what I am doing, what I can see etc. I would point at objects and say their names. I would also vocalize his demands. For eg. if he pointed at a ball, I would ask “Do you want this ball?” or if he pointed at the door, I would ask “Do you want to do outside?” His nod in response showed me that he was actually understanding what I was saying.

 

2. Read books to him:

Babies are never too young to read books. I started showing picture books to Baby N when he was 2 months old. At first he may only have associated book-time with some one-on-one time with mamma, but slowly over time he started associating pictures with words and stories. These initial reading sessions form the basis of literacy skills in the future.

11 Simple Things I Did Everyday to Boost my Baby’s Cognitive Development | Baby & Beyond

Babies are never too young to read

 

3. Snuggled up close:

As much as we try to stimulate the mind through sights and sounds, the sense of touch is equally important. Cuddle up, carry and snuggle close to your baby. The feeling of love, comfort and safety goes a long way in raising a confident and independent baby, which forms the basis of exploratory learning.

11 Simple Things I Did Everyday to Boost my Baby’s Cognitive Development | Baby & Beyond

Babywearing is a great way to get some snuggles throughout the day

 

4. Introduced him to different forms of music:

I’m sure you much have heard during your pregnancy that if you play classical music, your baby will have a higher IQ. There is scientific explanation behind this. Music introduces babies to scales, rhythms and pitches which form the basis of mathematics. Playing instruments and understanding how they work is early physics learning. I introduced Baby N to variety of musical forms – instrumental, classical, jazz, nursery rhymes, even rock and bhangra. Right from the age of 6 months, I enrolled him in musical bonding classes which helped his physical, cognitive and social development immensely.

11 Simple Things I Did Everyday to Boost my Baby’s Cognitive Development | Baby & Beyond

Early introduction to music and musical instruments

 

5. Nursed him for over 2 years:

Breastfeeding helps develop IQ in the initial stage of the baby’s life. Breast milk contains DHA which is the primary building block of the brain and Natural Vitamin E which prevents DHA from getting oxidised. These are essential for baby’s brain development. Even if you are not breastfeeding, you always have the option to offer an infant formula that specifically caters to infant cognitive development. Similac IQ+ contains DHA and Natural Vitamin E, in addition to other nutrients essential for the brain and can be given to the baby right from birth.

 

6. Nourished his brain:

Cognitive development is as much about stimulating the brain, as it is about feeding the brain the right nutrition it needs to develop. Once Baby N started solids, I included “brain-foods”in his diet to fuel cognitive development. You can read my post here about 8 brain foods to boost cognitive development in babies and how to serve them.

 

7. Gave him independent time:

Downtime is good for babies because it prevents over stimulation and gives them a chance to explore their own self and their environment. Often I would leave Baby N alone and find him looking at his own fingers, trying to open and close his palm, kick his legs out or reach out for something. All of these are milestones in themselves.

 

8. Got out of the house:

Though I was overprotective and tended to stay at home during the first few months, I soon realized that I was depriving Baby N of so many experiences outside. I started exposing him to different environments, activities and people to excite him and stimulate his curiosity.

11 Simple Things I Did Everyday to Boost my Baby’s Cognitive Development | Baby & Beyond

Baby Ns first time seeing the sea at 3 months old

 

9. Exposed him to multiple languages:

We speak English and Hindi to Baby N and read books to him in both languages too. His grandparents speak to him in Sindhi which is our mother tongue and our help speaks to him in Marathi. Research has shown that exposure to a multilingual environment enhances cognitive ability, specifically problem solving.

 

10. Ditched battery operated toys for open ended / low tech toys:

High tech electronic toys tend to overstimulate the senses and don’t leave much scope for real-world interaction. Low tech toys such as blocks, pretend play etc. foster imagination and provide far better developmental and cognitive benefits.

Also read: 
6+ Great Battery-Free Toys for Babies
11 Great Battery-Free Toys for Toddlers
Choosing the Right Toys for Our Children is No Child’s Play

 

11 Simple Things I Did Everyday to Boost my Baby’s Cognitive Development | Baby & Beyond

Blocks are the most low-tech and versatile toys that stimulate imagination, creativity and motor skills. This set was one of the first toys I bought for him as a baby and he still finds them interesting at 2 years

11. Asked questions and gave options:

Even though babies may not be speaking yet, they have a personality and opinions of their own. I used to show 2 toys or books to Baby N and let him express interest by reaching out for the one he prefers. This gave him control over his experiences and encouraged him to think about possibilities and how to express his opinions.

 

Is there anything specific that you did or are doing to help boost your baby’s cognition? I would love to know more. Do share your ideas in the comments below.

 

 

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Comments
  1. Prerna Wahi said on September 26, 2018 9:57 pm:

    Very useful tips and well researched write up. I loved the pics as well!

    1. Baby & Beyond said on September 28, 2018 2:15 pm:

      Thank you Prerna

  2. The Reading Momster said on September 30, 2018 12:01 am:

    It is not difficult to do this, we just need to present and aware of all the things we can achieve! Great and informative post !

  3. umaima said on October 1, 2018 7:33 pm:

    Hi..I pretty much do most of these for my baby. Never realized that simple everyday acts can be real cognitive development techniques.

  4. Alpana Deo said on October 4, 2018 7:39 am:

    You covered it all Mahak. We can do a lot through our day today activities. Babies are so quick to grasp everything.

  5. Pooja kawatra said on October 8, 2018 5:46 pm:

    These are surely very important and easy to do tips for any mom. Isn’t it these tips making mom’s life easier and beautiful.

  6. Tina Basu said on October 9, 2018 4:49 am:

    These are very useful tips. Day to day activities do have a good impact on babies.

  7. Shubhada Bhide said on October 9, 2018 6:11 am:

    These are some great ways to boost baby’s cognitive development. I will share this to my friends who have a toddler.

  8. Haajra Fareen said on October 9, 2018 12:24 pm:

    That’s a great post. Our son is two years old and I think it’s going to be helpful for me. Also these are pretty simple things to practise without overwhelming either of the parents.

    1. Baby & Beyond said on October 9, 2018 12:40 pm:

      That’s the idea Haajra. You need not be overwhelmed with fancy toys, books, flash cards etc. These simple, everyday activities have an impact on cognitive development too.