2013. A new year! A fresh start. Most of us make resolutions or set goals for ourselves for the new year. Sometimes we achieve them. Sometimes we don't. At the end of the year, whether or not we did seldom makes an indelible impact on our lives. For a newborn, however, that same 12 months can make all the difference in setting a brain building foundation for the rest of their life. Research tells us that parents can do very simple things with their babies which can impact their vocabulary, intelligence, and academic success later in life. It's not rocket science and any parent can do it by modifying the time that they already spend with their baby (as well as by engaging caregivers, grandparents, siblings and anyone else who has regular ineractions with baby).
The single most common comment I get from parents who have read my book or heard me speak is something to the effect of "I wish I had read this when my child was a baby - it's so easy and I wish I would have done it with them." The truth is that we hear a lot about the latest app or the newest video aimed at babies; but we don't read about the easy things parents can do every day like talk to their babies. Now, all parents talk to their babies; however, the research shows that kids whose parents talked to them alot, in adult language, using all types of words, had better developed vocabularies, better academic success at age 9, and even higher IQ. Simply by having their parents talk to them. I recently read the quote "true innovation makes things simple." Talking to your baby all the time is a perfect example. It's one of those really simple concepts that all parents need to be doing during baby's first year, but just need to be reminded to do it. All the time.
Another really simple thing parents need to be doing with their babies during the first year is reading to them. Most parents read to toddlers regularly; but not all do. A fewer number read to babies less than 12 months of age. When we read to our babies (or give them other enriching experiences), we are giving them information to make sense of and categorize into their amazingly fast growing nervous system and brain.
The number of easy opportunities to help your baby's brain and nervous system develop are infinite and simple. You don't need an app or a video. You do need to spend a few extra minutes doing the things you already do in a different way that engages your baby more. Innovately simple. Not many parents do it.
If you made new years resolutions, good for you. Blessings on achieving them all. If you have a baby, take advantage of their first 12 months to set a foundation for the rest of their lives. It is the most massive time of brain and nervous system growth and time you can't get back. If you know parents of a baby, send them this article. They will thank you for it.