Ever since coming back from the hospital with your bundle of joy in your arms, you’ve always looked forward to the day you get to witness their first words, first steps, and many, many more firsts to come. But did you know that your baby’s healthy mental and physical development depends on their early-stage developmental process?
The first year is crucial to helping your baby get a better understanding of the world around them. That’s why babies are always naturally curious, forcing you to always keep an extra eye on them in case they get into any mischief. But that’s just how babies learn. In fact, the more concepts they are exposed to, the faster they learn because the better their brain system develops. So, let them get curious, play with them, and help them learn as much as they can with sensory exploration, one step at a time.
Let’s look at 6 fun ways to help your baby learn about the world.
#1 Make funny faces
Your baby learns by mimicry, and one of the first few things they mimic is your facial expressions. The more they see you smiling, the more they imitate your smiles whenever they see you around. Eventually, they learn to associate feeling good with your presence. You can also make funny faces to get them to laugh! Releasing more of that feel-good dopamine helps deepen the bonding between you and them.
There’s a reason why you always play peek-a-boo whenever you encounter a little baby. Besides the obvious part where you’re almost certain to get a giggling reaction out of them, it’s also been shown that playing peek-a-boo with younger babies under 12 months teaches them the important lesson. Just because something disappears from view, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist anymore. It’s called object permanence. So, even if your smiling face disappears behind your hands, they know you’re still there because they can still see the rest of your body. With repetition, babies will learn that Mummy is still there just around the corner, or just behind the door, helping them understand the concept of object permanence.
#3 Lie down and play
We’ve written an article about the importance of giving your baby sufficient tummy time for a few minutes every day. As a quick refresher, tummy time is important for your baby to develop strong, healthy muscles, amongst other benefits. Aside from the physical benefits, it also aids in the proper development of their brain, hand-eye coordination, fine-motor skills, speech and language, and more. Just be cautious about laying them on their tummy onto a cold floor directly. Meanwhile, get rid of any gas or wind that does get in with a quick 2-minute massage using our TYT Herbal Medicated Oil.
#4 Cut down on colour
It sure is tempting to show your little baby a whole world of exciting colours as soon as they start noticing things, but you might want to tone it down a little bit, simply because your baby’s eyesight isn’t fully developed yet under a year old, and they can’t fully process colours yet. Too many colours at once may cause some visual overstimulation for them. Instead, try letting them recognise basic shapes in solid colours (without all the other busy colours) to stimulate their brain and get them to start thinking.
#5 Touch, touch, touch!
Studies prove that touch is one of human’s most important senses. Babies also learn and feel a lot through touch as they gather informative cues about their surroundings.
Long before babies acquire spoken language, touch is a crucial channel of communication between caregivers and babies.— Andrew Meltzoff, psychology professor and co-director of the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS)
Besides, studies have shown that direct skin-on-skin contact is extremely important for fostering a close bond between you and your little one. One such way to make sure both Mummy and Daddy get enough ‘hands-on’ time with the baby is by taking turns to give the little one a gentle, loving massage every day before bed. Don’t forget to use TYT Herbal Medicated Oil for the baby massage!
Wanna learn how to massage your baby to sleep better at night? It’s all in this article here.
#6 Play ball!
Another way to train and develop your baby’s hand-eye coordination is by playing with toys, specifically balls, whether soft toys or inflatable balls. Soft toys provide tactile stimulation, but grabbing and holding on to a ball specifically trains your baby’s manual dexterity and grip. Besides, who doesn’t love a good ball game? Just roll or lightly bounce the ball towards them each time and your little one is sure to love it!