If you’ve just had a child, are looking to have children, or have a young toddler, it’s important to know that one of the easiest things to unintentionally overlook is initial brain development. There are a number of fun and simple activities that you can incorporate into you and your child’s daily routine that will help to encourage quicker brain development.
You may already be making use of a variety of these techniques without knowing it! But after you read through this article, you’ll have a better idea of what you’re already doing right and of what you want to start doing right away!
Certain techniques such as providing your child with mental challenges via brain games, playing simple interactive games, and reading to them daily can all help to encourage overall positive neurological function and development.
With nearly 80% of a child’s brain development occurring before the age of three, it’s important to try and take into consideration the various ways that you can help to make a difference through casual, daily methods.
Engaging in musical activities with your child is a fantastic way to help encourage quick and meaningful brain development. Regardless of the type of musicality you participate in with your child, it’s sure to make a difference.
Giving your child the chance to try out toy instruments, or playing certain songs repeatedly and encouraging your child when they sing along with you (i.e., slowing down your singing and repeating notes and sounds that they sing back to you).
Take Time to Play Together
Although this is probably something that you’re already doing naturally, it’s important to take time to engage in various forms of play. Depending on the type of game that you participate in with your child, you’ll help them to begin developing various understandings that they would naturally acquire over time.
Taking the time to play with your children will help your child to better understand various communicative functions while helping them to better understand interpersonal relationships. Although playtime may feel like mere bonding, it works to encourage your child to understand the foundations of socialization.
An example of a game that has a noticeable impact on cognitive function is peek-a-boo! Peek-a-boo is a nearly ubiquitous game with an immeasurable level of popularity, but did you know that it helps children acquire an understanding of object permanence? Object permanence is the concept of understanding that an object remains in the same location and continues to exist even when it’s out of sight. It is a milestone and a significant point in terms of children’s development before two to three years old.
Encourage Them to Play Brain Games
Even if your child is fully able to solve them, getting them simplistic and basic puzzle-type games to mess around with and solve will help them begin to understand and implement various functions.
For example, motor function will improve as they continue to play with puzzles involving movable pieces. Understanding where and how pieces can fit into a puzzle will also help children to understand various mathematical values, including the comprehension of shape and dimensions. Further, this will implement the very early stages of critical thinking.
Brain games for your child can count as simplistic puzzles, but can also count as various toys that involve thinking to use them, which means you’ll want to have a look at some of the best toys for your child to get a good idea of what kind of toys they’ll like. Also, you’ll have to see what kind of toys will help with their neurological development.
Read to Them Frequently
Although it’s good to have the habit of reading to your child when they’re asleep, it’s great to try and incorporate that during the day (on a daily basis) as well. At such a young stage of development, a child’s ability to understand language is more important than their ability to communicate using language.
This means that it’s important to place a lot of focus and emphasis on enunciation, pronounce words dramatically and emphatically (i.e. stressing each individual syllable so phonemes are processed). Moreover, it’s important to find stories that have visual media paired with easy-to-understand vocabularies such as onomatopoeias or single and double syllable words.
If your child is still quite young, then, as they become a toddler, they’ll become increasingly curious about the meaning of stories and words, and their significance relative to the images paired with them. This type of critical thinking and internalization is sure to help with early brain development!
Provide Exemplary Emotional Responses
It’s important for children to be able to see the various ways that people respond emotionally to different situations. In this regard, you work as a mirror for your child, showing them how they are meant to feel relative to an occurrence or how someone else is feeling.
For example, it’s good to show your child when to feel compassion, to share when they have something to offer, to help others feel uplifted or better, and overall to encourage positive emotional development. In the short term, this will help the child to better understand their world and the people around them. In the long term, it will help them to better understand their own emotions and how those impact or are impacted by the people around them.
Emotional intelligence is helpful for understanding a variety of neurological functions, including deductive thinking and acquisition of language.
Overall, these are just a few of the many ways that you can help your child’s brain to develop while spending a meaningful and enjoyable time with them. All of these methods are sure to work, and you’ll most likely end up enjoying them or feeling like they’re easy activities to do naturally (if you’re not already doing them)!
Although it may not seem like it, a lot of bonding activities will encourage brain development. So long as you’re making an effort to keep your child learning in terms of cognitive function (e.g., reading, solving puzzles, and playing games) and offering them a consistent amount of emotional support and love, their brain is sure to develop at the rate that you’re hoping for.
Make sure to keep in mind that every child is different, so it’s not great to force any type of activity too frequently or to push them to perform a task they simply may not understand yet. But as long as you have patience and stay consistent in your educational (both cognitively and emotionally) activities, you’ll surely see the progress of their brain development via their actions.