The arrival of a new baby into the home can bring so many emotions, including joy, anticipation, worry, and delight. These emotions may stem from realizing that as parents, keeping the newborn safe, alive, and well-cared for is essential. Parents will monitor a new baby’s growth; they will watch how much a new one eats or sleeps, or even coo’s and cries. Each of these actions can produce a reaction on the part of the caregiver. Infants rely on their caregivers to provide so much of their daily care. This is a time when the attachment bond is securely formed. A child who cries and their needs are met will learn to rely on someone to provide for their needs.
Infants are discovering movement through head control and noticing their hands and fingers. As they grow, they learn to roll over, sit up, and eventually crawl. Brain development is efficiently creating neural pathways that are critical windows of opportunity. As parents take the time to talk to their babies, this enhances the brain’s development. A child hearing more words in the first years of life benefits the child when they begin school.
A few great ways to engage with your infant in the early stages of development include:
Talking and reading to your baby.
Repeating your words and responding to the baby talk and sounds your infant makes will provide reassurance to your little one.
Give lots of attention and stimulation to your baby.
When they begin noticing their hands and fingers, be sure to provide toys and sound makers that will encourage their use of their newfound hands.
Keep the baby safe by taking a close look at the environment and removing any hazards that could be potential trouble.
Children are naturally curious and will put most items in their mouth. Be sure to check for small items that could cause a choking hazard and remove those toys.
Wash and clean mouthed toys often.
Most of all, show love and affection to your baby and enjoy this stage of development.
For additional information on your child’s growth and development, please explore a free series of electronic newsletters delivered to your email inbox based on your child’s birthday. They are called the Just In Time Parenting newsletters. Delivered once a month, the newsletter is filled with information about what you can expect of your child’s development, tips for how you can support your babies growth and progress toward their next milestones, tips for handling those common challenging moments, and some great suggestions for you, as a parent, to practice self-care.
With two earned degrees from Iowa State University, Barb is a Human Sciences Specialist utilizing her experience working alongside communities to develop strong youth and families! With humor and compassion, she enjoys teaching, listening and learning to learn!
It’s been a while since my kidos were babies. Lucky for my offspring, smart phones had yet to be invented and my bag cellphone had a 30 minute limit! The technological distractions for parents of young children has exploded. Certainly it is as important now as ever to connect to with babies not only verbally but with eye contact and touch. I’ve seen some parents who easily communicate with their babies and others who feel silly and awkward. One technique that I remember using was what I’ll call the “tour guide” . Babies are seeing the world through completely new eyes. Parents can describe and converse with their babies over almost anything that they see, hear, touch, taste, or feel! I can remember some pretty strange looks in the grocery store, as I talked my way through the aisles in conversation with my than youngsters. The more talk that goes on…the more natural it becomes. The awkwardness soon fades..but hopefully some of the silliness stays!
Janet Smith is a Human Science Specialist-Family LIfe with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She currently provides family life programming in eight counties in southeast Iowa. Janet is a "parenting survivor". She is the mother of Jared-21, Hannah-20, and Cole-15. She and her husband, David have faced many challenges together, including their son Jared's Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy diagnosis.
It seems inevitable: People see babies and immediately start talking to them in a high pitched voice, exaggerating their vowel sounds. But there’s a good reason for this behavior. Child development experts call this musical way of talking ‘parentese,’ and more and more researchers are telling us how important it is to infants’ development and future success in learning.
Whether you call it parentese or baby talk, research shows that the more parents talks to their babies face to face, the more words the children will know by the time they reach age 3 and there just is something special with face-to-face communication.
Join us this month as we shut off the television, put away the smartphones and iPads and talk.
Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.