In this era of competition, every parent wants to raise a smart and intelligent child who is capable enough to face the world. According to researches, the first few years of a baby’s life are the foundation of his intellectual and brain development.
But to achieve this, you should not forget that every baby is different and grows at his own pace. Some achieve a particular milestone early and some achieve it late. Before anything else, your prime focus should be to raise a healthy and happy baby/child.
Perhaps, there are some healthy ways through which a child’s brain can be stimulated to do things better. We have listed 19 simple yet fun ways that you can inculcate in your day to day routine to enhance your child’s capabilities and develop his intelligence level. Basically, these tips would help in cognitive development.
Communicate with your Child
Communication is one of the most effective ways to boost brain development in babies.
Strong communication skills are associated with higher intelligence levels in kids. According to Tracy Crutchlow, (editor of the book Brain Rules for Baby), by age 3 kids who were involved in regular communication tend to have higher IQ levels than kids who weren’t involved much. Later, when they reach school they perform better at academics too.
So, talk to your child as much as you can. He might not understand everything that you speak but this would give him a chance to learn new words, language, expressions, and tone of voice.
Praise your baby
Do you know? Individuals who were praised and appreciated during their early childhood show proficiency in their work and do not easily give up on things.
This is because when you praise a child for his efforts, it makes him feel positive, nurture his confidence and builds his self-esteem. So, make sure to applause and give a hug/ kiss to your child when he does something good.
According to research conducted by York University’s Faculty of Health, babies who are exposed to two languages show advantages in the early development of attention. This provides significant long term cognitive development benefits too.
Let him TRY Again
Imagine…Your child’s ball is stuck between two sofas. He tried once but was unable to take it out. You were watching the scene from a distance. So, what would you do?
Let us guess!
You will immediately go there, take the ball out and give it back to him. Right?
But you should not have done that. Instead, you should have let your child try and make a few attempts. Generally, we provide a helping hand to our children too quickly. We don’t let them try.
So, avoid jumping into making things easy for your child. Give him time to try things on his own. When a child tries something and achieves it on his own it boosts his spirit and confidence to another level. This is a great way to make a child smart and intelligent.
Let him Explore
Take your child to new places and introduce him to things which he has never seen before. When he sees something new tell him about it with excitement and give him a chance to explore things on his own too. The more he gets to experience new things higher his smartness and intelligence level would be.
Say NO to always saying NO
Let your child run, jump, climb, touch, feel, manipulate, explore and experiment with things around. Don’t be too overprotective towards your child and stop him from doing things. Babies and young children have a natural curiosity to know the world. So, provide your child with a lot of opportunities to learn and grow his imagination. Let his mind stimulate and discover things on his own. Brain stimulation is associated with cognitive development and leads to intelligence.
Play with your child
Involve yourself and play a lot of different activity games with your child. You can play interactive games like peekaboo, find the toy, pass the ball, pretend play, etc. Games like building with blocks, puzzles, sorting, stacking, etc also work. Playing helps in brain stimulation and instills a lot of valuable learning in your child. It develops a problem-solving attitude and let your child become a smarter and intelligent individual in the future. Not only that, accompanying the child during playtime helps in strengthening the bond with your child. According to a lot of studies, a higher confidence level in early childhood is linked to better performance at work in the future.
Play with other children
Social Interaction is a crucial part of development in children. Besides early development, social interaction provides long term benefits too. So, let your child interact with other children of his age. When a child is a part of a social setup it naturally prepares him to face challenges and handle situations on his own. Initially, be with your child and teach him how to be in a social circle. Keep an eye on your child and supervise him when he faces a displeasing situation.
You might not realize but social interaction plays an important role in making a child smart and intelligent.
Do you know? Reading books regularly leads to early development in babies/children. When you read aloud, your baby hears you using different words, expressions, emotions, and sounds which help them in developing stronger communication skills. And as told in point 1, communication skills are associated with higher intelligence levels.
Reading also invites your child to look, feel, touch, point and ask the questions- all of which stimulates a child’s imagination and promotes brain activity and thinking skills.
Get Age Appropriate Toys
Colorful and interactive toys play a great role in a baby’s development. These days there are a lot of interesting toys available in the market that are specifically designed to stimulate a child’s brain and promote problem-solving skills. Such toys are age-specific and they are designed keeping in account the capability of children of that particular age group. Give only those toys to your child that are meant for his age and suits his capability.
Avoid Screen Time
No matter how educational the exposed content on television or mobile phone is, it provides zero calories to a baby’s growth and development.
According to researches, early exposure to technology hampers children’s social behavior, health, and achievements. Too much screen time is also linked to speech delay and sleeping problems in infants and toddlers. Many studies suggest that maximum brain development occurs during the first three years of life. That means these initial years are the most crucial time for a child’s brain development. So, cut down on screen time and explore other options to distract your child and keep him engaged in a healthy way.
Singing involves a lot of words and emotions that are new for a child. Choose a few nursery rhymes/songs and sing them often to your baby. Try to relate the songs with the situation. For example, every night you can show moons and stars to your child and sing ‘Twinkle twinkle Little Star”. Sing a rain song when it rains or a bath song when your child takes a bath.
This fun activity will help in memory building and boosting the power of correlating things thereby making your child smarter and intelligent.
Play with Day To Day Things
Household items fascinate a child more than toys. Agree? So, let your child do some learning while playing. Spread containers of different sizes and colors around your child. Pick a container and ask the child to choose the right lid for it. This will increase brain activity and let your child sort the containers and lid according to the appropriate sizes and colors. These kinds of activities with random household items encourage problem-solving attitude in the child and make them smarter. Think of more activities with day to day things and let your child explore things on his own.
Go for Outings
Keeping a child close to nature is a great way to enhance his power of observation. Take your child to the park, lake, zoo as often as possible and tell him about nature. Show him chirping birds, flowing water, various big and small animals, flowers of different colors, plants, trees, etc.
Besides providing knowledge to the child, this activity helps in adding a lot of new words into his vocabulary.
Whenever possible give options to your child and ask him to choose. This is a great way to boost his decision-making skills.
You can ask him simple questions and give choices like: What do you want to eat? Banana or Pear?
Which ball do you want to play with? Red or Blue?
When a child gets the opportunity to make a choice it makes him feel confident and gives him a feeling of self-dependency.
There is no harm in introducing numbers to the baby early. The early they learn, the wiser they get. Make it a habit of counting every possible thing in your daily routine. Count loudly and let your baby notice. Count the number of apple slices in your plate, the number of balls around your baby, the number of flowers illustrated in the baby book and so on.
By doing this, you will be surprised to see your baby counting things on his own pretty soon. He might not remember the series but he will surely remember a few numbers that he heard you say. Counting is an effective way to stimulate the child’s brain to memorize and recall numbers.
Tell him about Shapes and Colors
Include colors and shapes in your everyday interaction with your child. Discuss various things available around your baby by giving special stress on colors and shapes.
When your child sees banana tell him that banana is YELLOW.
Show him an apple and say ‘This is a red round apple”.
This kind of day to day discussion helps in the early development of a child. It is also a great way to encourage the thinking skills of a child and let him memorize things also.
Take a basic ‘ABC book’ and show alphabets along with the associated objects to your child. Later, help your child to relate the alphabets by showing those objects in real-life too. For example, when you take your child outside, show him cars and help your child to recall ‘C for Car’.
Help your child to relate more live objects like Apple, Ball, Cat, Eggs, etc with the associated alphabets.
Experts recommend that parents should communicate with the child as much as possible. And while communicating, questions should be included. Communicating with the child and asking related yet stimulating questions is a great way to boost brain development in children.
Some of the situations in which you can have a good conversation and include questions are:
- While taking the child to the bath, ask him what are we going to do now? Give some clues and encourage him to answer.
- When feeding the child, ask him what are you eating? Do you like it? Is it yummy?
- Show the book to your child and ask where the birds are? Where is the apple?
- What is in your tummy? Did you eat a banana today?
- Where is your nose? Show me your fingers?
Faster and smoother linguistic development is a sign of cognitive development in babies/children. Also, the more prompt a child becomes to answer the questions the smarter and intelligent he gets in the future.
But if your child is unable to do things according to your expectations then don’t worry and stress yourself. As long as your child is healthy and active you don’t need to panic.