All parents want their babies to grow up to be smart and successful. But what can you do to help your infant achieve such lofty goals? The answer may be surprisingly simple and cost-effective.
Technology is a huge part of everyday life. But if you think technology is the key to helping your baby’s brain develop, think again. Research has shown that despite the name, educational videos such as "Baby Einstein" not only don’t help baby brain development, they might actual slow down the baby’s ability to learn new words. (1)
The same is true of teaching tools such as baby flash cards, language videos or listening to classical music by Mozart.
"There is no evidence that any of these products can improve a baby's intelligence," says Alison Gopnik, Ph.D., professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley. (2)
So what can you do to help your baby grow into his or her full brain power? Experts recommend going back to the same things that have helped babies learn for thousands of years — one-on-one time with mom and dad. (1)
Science shows that at birth, a baby’s brain has billions of nerve cells. As the baby experiences new things, these nerve cells start to make connections and pathways in the brain. As the baby’s senses provide new information, the brain starts to recognize patterns.
Each time a sensation is repeated, the pathways become stronger as the baby starts to learn and understand and even anticipate what may come next. This type of learning starts almost as soon as the baby is born, which is why a newborn can recognize his mother’s face in just a few hours.
So what can you do to help your baby learn? Experts recommend spending one-on-one time sharing your life with your baby.
Here are some examples:
1) Bond with your baby
Feeding time, diaper changes and just spending time together are all opportunities for your baby to look in your eyes, explore the texture of your skin and enjoy your loving attention. Your baby needs human interaction, not impersonal time in front of the television.