Did you know something as simple as talking to your baby can help them be more successful in school? 75% of your baby’s brain development occurs in the first 2 years of life. You are your baby’s first teacher! The more words they are exposed to during this time the better. Simple things like telling your child what you are doing, “Mommy is making your bottle now,” and pointing out things you see, “Look at the big red ball,” help their language develop. You may be tempted to turn the TV on and let your baby be exposed to language that way. Unfortunately, studies have shown this actually makes their language development worse. Instead, turn the tv off and talk directly to your baby throughout the day, making eye contact with them, and giving them a chance to respond. This helps with language and communication skills that are needed throughout life.
Books and songs are another way to help develop their language skills. Sing simple songs over and over again, and you will quickly see that they will begin to recognize the song. Exposing them to books is a great opportunity. You might find your 6 month old baby has no interest in sitting down and reading a book, but let them explore books. They will probably start by sticking it in their mouth, but soon they will start looking at the pictures, and before you know it they will have their own favorite book. Your baby may not want to sit on your lap and read the entire book. That’s ok! Flip through the book with them. Point out different pictures. Practice animal sounds. Your baby will enjoy the time spent cuddling with you, while also building a foundation for their developing language and a love for reading.
By Ashlee Mickelson, Physician