Sure, your baby is too tiny for school, but he or she is already an eager learner. Here are four important steps you can take to encourage your baby's development:
Expose your baby to different environments, activities, and people.
Every experience, whether regular (like your daily chores) or new and unfamiliar (like special outings), stimulates your baby's senses and sparks a curiosity. Make an effort to go to a variety of places with your baby and talk about what you see, hear, smell, and touch.
Babyproof your home.
Good learners are curious. Boost your baby's curiosity by providing surroundings in which he or she can safely explore. Fewer hazards within reach will also reduce your need to interfere by setting limits and saying no. In other words, make your baby's environment inviting but safe.
Make the most of your baby's playtime.
Provide toys that have a variety of shapes, colors, textures, and sounds. Let your baby play alone sometimes, and at other times play together – both types of play exercise the mind in different ways. Try to resist helping your baby with a challenging toy or activity to let him or her experiment and learn independently (but lend a hand if the challenge continues and leads to frustration). End playtime before your baby starts looking away and fussing – these are signs he or she is becoming overstimulated.
Keep lots of baby-friendly books around the house.
Regularly flip through them with your baby, pointing to the pictures and talking about them as you go.