Babies learn at different rates. Some are very quick while others are late bloomers.
Babies with developmental delay due to a brain disorder will learn new things, but at a slower rate than normal.
Every new skill acquired, no matter how small, is a big step forward. Babies are great observers and excellent mimics. Babies thrive on attention and praise.
PLAY is an important tool in helping babies to learn.
Help Your Baby to Learn Through Play
Play with your baby one to two hours each day. The level of play will be determined by the stage of your child's development.
Play During Everyday Activities
Make bath-time fun. Give her plastic bottles or cups to play with in the water.
Hold him in front of the mirror. Show him baby and mummy.
Play with Talk and Song
Talk to him, cuddle him and get him to look at you. Talk and point to parts of her body. Say the words clearly. Sing songs and nursery rhymes.
Play with Toys
Make toys out of common household items e.g. cardboard; paper. String brightly coloured objects across the crib so he can reach for them when he is lying down. Let her play with a plastic cup and a spoon. Give her a shaker with a handle. Give him a pieces of paper to hold and tear up. Give her crayons to scribble on discarded pieces of paper. Make a soft ball of brightly coloured cloth, roll it to him and make him go for it.
Some Developmental Milestones
- Smiles socially at age 6-8 weeks
- Reaches purposely at 4 months
- Sits unsupported at 6 months
- Babbles consonants at 6 months
- Finger-thumb grasp at 9-10 months
- Walks unsupported at 12 months
- Says first word at 12-15 months
- Strings words together at 21 months
- Asks what, who and where at 24 months
- Asks why, when and how at 36 months
- Recalls experiences at 48 months
- Remember that some normal babies may be a bit slower in achieving these milestones!
The brain develops rapidly in the first three years of life.
Although the number of brain cells (billions) does not increase after birth, the number of connections between them increases enormously by age 3 years (hundreds of trillions).
Brain cells make more connections than are needed. Those connections that are used a lot are enhanced while those that are infrequently or never used are pruned away. Brain development is therefore dependent to a great extent on early childhood experiences.
Always Reward Your Baby's Achievements!
Every time that your baby does something right or even just tries, show her that you are pleased by way of your voice, your smile and your touch.
Try not to show your disappointment when your baby does not do the things you want and do not physically punish him because he has not done something right.