How Parents Influence Infant’s Early Year Development

Parents holding baby

I can’t emphasize enough on the importance of early childhood development and the crucial role that parents play in their baby’s growing years. Time and again it has been proven that active parenting and a healthy environment have a positive influence on child’s development. By the time a toddler is 5 years old, 80% of his brain has been developed. And that is why it is extremely important to provide babies with the best learning environment and quality relationships.

Majority of the time I have noticed that children who are in the care of nannies or in a day care center show behavioral problems as compared to children whose parents are actively involved in their nurturing. According to neuroscience survey, lack of positive relationships, inattentiveness and poor involvement from parents results in behavioral and emotional problems in children and unhealthy brain development. Early experiences provided by parents lay a strong foundation on which a child’s later years are developed. As Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission’s chair, Alan Milburn puts it, “the role of parents during a child’s earliest years is the single biggest influence on their development. Good quality home learning contributes more to children’s intellectual and social development than parental occupation, education or income”.

Here are few interesting ideas that parents can adopt to actively participate in their Infant’s growing years and help in his overall development.

  • New born babies have the innate need to communicate. As they keep growing they develop their own baby vocabulary. As parents, you should start talking to your child as soon as he is born in a pleasant voice and be repetitive about it. For example, you can keep saying his name again and again and soon he will start responding to it. But do remember, NO baby talk here.
  • When your baby leads the conversation through his coos and babbling sounds, encourage him. Respond to his coos in a sing song voice and bob your head often. This will encourage the baby to respond back. But do remember to maintain eye contact with your baby while talking and playing.
  • As infants keep growing, they lose their new born reflexes and are ready to hold things in their palm. At this time, you can give your child toys to grasp so that his finger and hand movement improves.
  • To attract your baby’s attention, you can use toys or rattles with bright colours. You can also use objects which are shiny or have nice, bold patterns. Make sure you hold the objects 8-12 inches above the baby’s chest.
  • You can move bright coloured or musical toys in all directions, which will help strengthen your baby’s eye muscles and encourage visual tracking.
  • As your baby grows, getting involved with her in infant aerobics is a great way to bond, play as well as strengthen the muscles of your baby. For this, you can stretch out her arms and fold them in front of her in a hugging position. Repeat this for 5-8 times and sing a nice rhyme along with it. Besides, lift her legs gently towards her chest and let it go. Repeat this few times as well. Babies enjoy being exercised and this makes a wonderful activity for parents to spend quality times with their little ones.
  • Use toys as puppets and make them talk to each other. This is not only pleasing for babies but helps them to develop their language skills.
  • Babies love music and dance. Put up a nice music, start dancing to it, and watch your little one start wiggling and jiggling to the beats too.
  • As your baby grows, she will start crawling and her inquisitiveness will increase. To stimulate her mind and to develop her motor skills, you can build an obstacle course for her using toys, pillows, blankets, boxes, cushions, etc, and show her how to crawl over it, under it and around it. After that, sit back and watch your little one enjoy to her glory.
  • Spending time in nature is a great learning activity not just for adults but also for little ones. Take your baby for walk or go to a playground. Let her explore her surroundings. Allow your baby to interact with other children, adults and animals and keep explaining her about what she sees around her to help in her vocabulary building.

Most parents get baffled, when their new born baby comes home. They don’t know what to do and prefer to leave the child in nanny’s care. But the key message from this article for parents is that you should get actively involved in your child’s everyday life where they are loved, talked with, played, socialized, nurtured and cared for.

So parents, what’s your opinion on this? Do you have more interesting ideas to share with other parents on how they can actively participate with their infant’s growing years? We’ll be happy to have you share ideas in the comments below!

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