From birth, babies can learn with his very active mind. Here are some useful tips on how to explore and develop your little one’s intelligence:
* Encourage him to develop a taste for exploration like holding your face and bright objects fairly close to his eyes. He can then see and touch with fingers, so that he also learns from feeling.
* Be sensitive to what interests him, such as your hair or a strange noise, and encourage his involvement with these things.
* Put a mirror (firmly secured) over his cot, about 20 centimeters from his face, so that he can see his reflection. He’ll have a lot of fun pulling faces at himself. Attach it to a semi-rigid structure, such as a length of plastic, for him to reach up for when he’s able to.
* Don’t put a great number of objects in or around the cot; too much enrichment only turns him off.
* Listen to his cries and coos, and react to them promptly.
* Make a cradle-gym of toys he can reach, strung across his cot or pram, so that he can knock them, watch them swing, and learn some hand-to-eye coordination. He won’t be able to grasp them to start with, because that is still too difficult.
From six months:
* Give him just a few tough toys that won’t fall to pieces when bitten or thrown.
* Try a kick toy tied to the foot end of the cot, such as a large flat piece of foam rubber covered in vinyl, showing a big toy face and little body, and tied on with strong elastic; it will give hours of pleasure and leg exercise.
* Talk about what you’re doing, such as putting on socks, all the time. Repeat the key words over and over.
* Give the baby free time on a blanket on the floor every day. He’ll begin to crawl and explore more quickly.
* Let him handle things that work, like switching the light on, and when he succeeds, say “light.” Babies also love a jack-in-the-box.
* When he begins to crawl, make safe areas for him to explore. Freedom to explore is very important.
* Always respond to a baby. But if it’s difficult, then break off and tell the child to ‘wait a minute.’ It is better that ignoring him.
* Play involving games like hide and seek.
* Use playpens or any other restraining devices like high chairs only as long as the baby looks contented in them. When he shows signs of boredom, take him out.
* Keep life lively for the baby by changing his scenery, talking to him, and interesting him in your daily activities.
* No one is more interesting to a baby than his parents. Exaggerate your own actions slightly to make them clearer, such as speaking slowly and making clear facial expressions and body movements.
Source: Dr. Joan Freeman, child psychologist