If you thought that title means that my brain is a bit fuzzy since giving birth to my Rainbow baby – well, it is, but that is not what I am writing about today. I don’t know how I can write about the absence of something. Something I miss dearly and hope will return to me once I am regularly sleeping through the night. But this is not about me, it is about my baby. My 10 month old is amazing to watch. I see her brain facilitating developmental leaps on a weekly basis.
I am always interested in brain development. As parents, we want to know the best things to do to help my baby’s brain reach its maximum potential. Interestingly enough, most of the things that are great for brain development are rather intuitive as parents and caretakers. They are things that come naturally to most people: talking to your baby, singing to your baby, allowing your baby to explore safely, taking your baby for walks outdoors, and reassuring your baby when she is scared or discouraged, encouraging baby to explore and make new friends independent of you.
There is one more thing that you can do that may be a little less automatic and that is to read to baby. Even though they are little, hearing the rhythm of language has a the marvelous effect of building neural pathways in their growing brains. Neural pathways are roads for information to travel on in your brain. Information in the brain does you little good if it cannot be easily accessed. Think about a time you tried to remember someone’s name. You know the name. It is on the tip of your tongue. But you cannot access the information that is in there!
Children who are read to end up with better vocabulary and better reading skills. This is true of children of any age. So start reading to your kids now! Fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and fables are time tested ways to convey these benefits. They are usually well written, quality literature that promote higher order thinking skills through analogies, metaphors, and simile.
Image courtesy of www.developinghumanbrain.org
Babies love repetition, so a large library of books is not needed. Pick a few quality classics. This works for big kids! If your children are older, choose a novel or biography a little above their reading level to read to them. Here are a few for older kids. Whatever you choose, start today!
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