RAISING A BABY GENIUS!

The Nest's Noticings for the Week...

Favorite Product: The Swipen Snap
Parenting Resource or Tip: Check out the book Baby Play for Every Day and similar books like it that give you ideas for how to play with your little one!
Baby Signs to Use: Play, Music, Book
Baby Songs to Sing: Hurry Hurry Drive the Firetruck, Heads Shoulders Knees and Toes
Quick and Easy Recipe: One Pan Autumn Chicken
Developmental Play Tip: Today’s class is full of developmental tips!!

Today's Topic:  RAISING A BABY GENIUS ;)

Your child’s brain is 80% of adult size by 3 years old (one source of mine says 2 years old!) and 90% by 5 years old. During the first three years of life, your child’s brain triples in size. It produces 700 neural connections a minute during this time! You have the chance to make a HUGE impact on your child’s development and future success in those first 3 years.

Today we talked about how to raise a SMART baby - we used the acronym SMART to highlight 5 things you can do to help grow your baby's brain: (we talked about as many of these as we could in class!)


S - Sensory Experiences
M - Manage Technology
A - Avoid Overscheduling
R - Read, Talk and Sing
T - Touch

Sensory Experiences
 

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Babies learn best through sensory play. Remember that everything in our world is new and stimulating for these young ones! Putting your baby’s feet in the grass, letting them grab at sand on the beach, and dipping their hands in yogurt and wiping it all over their face are all sensory experiences that grow your child’s brain! By touching, smelling, and tasting things unfamiliar to them, we allow them to build neural connections in the brain and strengthen memory, develop language, fine and gross motor skills, cognitive growth, and problem solving. Helping your baby learn to feel comfortable “getting dirty” helps them learn and grow! You can go pinterest-crazy with sensory play, but you don’t need to make it complicated!!

Check out Jessie's daughter, Shea, doing some simple sensory activities - paint in a bag and gel sensory bag.

Some other simple ideas:

Sensory bottles
Sensory bags - gel
Shaving cream in a bag
Sensory runway
Bubbles in the bathtub or baby pool
Anything in a bowl or big Tupperware container!
Yarn and animals
Glow sticks in bathtub
Herbs
Grass
Puddles, rain
Cooked spaghetti
Jello
Colored ice cubes in water (bathtub?)
Food!
Edible finger paint (bathtub?)
Play dough
Rattles

Manage Technology

Here are the guidelines from the AAP on what they recommend for children and screentime.

- Be very conscious of screen time before age 2. Screen time in infants and toddlers should be limited to very interactive experiences, such as face-timing with family. After age 2, limit screen time to an hour or two a day.
- Try to avoid having the TV on as “background noise” in your home, turn off the TV during dinner and make kids’ bedrooms screen free, and don’t watch the news with children in the room. 
- When your child starts to watch TV, choose high quality programming. (Check out www.commonsensemedia.org for guidance on all things TV and movie related!)

Avoid Overscheduling

Yourself or your baby/child – make PLAY and time together a family priority. As Mr. Rogers said… “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”

Read, Talk, and Sing

Narrate your day, read to your child, talk and play music as they play… surround your child by language as much as possible! Limit “noisy” toys in your home! 

TALK
- Research shows that by age three, children from more talkative families had heard 30 million more words and performed better on cognitive tests. 
- Talk is the most well-documented way to help your child’s brain grow and develop!
- Narrate your day
- Use adjectives
- Give your child choices
- Imitate the sounds you hear them making – eye to eye contact

Read
- Black and white books – “High contrast shapes and patterns provide the baby with something simple and engaging to focus on, and in this focus – or intense concentration – they can allow their minds to rest. High contrast shapes may appear odd or even a little boring to adults, but they are designed to hold babies' attention and the results from them is breathtaking. Researchers have repeatedly shown that newborns prefer to look at black and white geometric shapes, rather than bright colors or pastels.” http://www.huggamind.com/highcontrast.php
- A study from the University of Waterloo found that mothers tended to use more complex talk and language when reading their toddlers books without pictures. When you’re “reading” to your baby, don’t feel like you actually need to read everything word for word! Talk about pictures, point, tell stories, etc. Always follow your baby’s lead!

SING
- Sing songs over and over and over! Repetition is fantastic for young children.
- Use hand motions with songs
- “Ten in the Bed” – practice rolling
- “BINGO” – audiation
- Play songs with and without words
- Play music in your home! We love these pandora stations for kids: Toddler Radio, Lullaby, Rockabye Baby, Jack Johnson Children’s, Disney, Elizabeth Mitchell, Laurie Berkner, Sleepy Time, Rockin’ Kids, Kids Folk, Asylum Street Spankers, Dan Zanes, Ziggy Marley Children’s, Bobby McPherin, Lunch Money, They Might Be Giants, Caspar Babypants

Touch

There are multiple studies that show a direct correlation between the amount of physical touch early in life with the development of empathy, an increase in brain mass, cortical functioning, brain activity, and higher IQ/language scores.
- Infant massage
- Respond to your child’s cues

 

Notable Mentions:

This is the section of the recap where I will give you all of the info brought up during check-in time from all of our 0-12 month Mommy and Me classes so that you can have the most resources possible!

Combat addiction to your cell phone (for you and baby!) 
- Wondertree Kids - great music and messy art classes - both fantastic sensory experiences!
Jbary - Great list of kids songs
- Tegu magnetic blocks "pocket pouch" - great thing to have in your diaper bag for playing at restaurants