The latest understanding of baby brains
Up until a few years ago, we didn't think much about babies brains. they would learn everything in due course and parents did the best they could. We now know differently.
At birth, a newborn has 100 billions brain cells, or neurons, and over the next few years, trillions of synapses or connections will form. It is during this phase that you either 'use it or lose it'. A toddler has twice as many synapses as an adult. and so, for example, the best time to learn a new language is during this phase.
We now know that you can enhance your babies brain development by doing certain activities and exercises, particularly during the first 5 years. It is thought hat how you 'learn to learn' during this phase will have a profound effect on your ease of learning throughout your life - in other words, you can actually improve your babies ultimate IQ by 'teaching' their brain.
Child psychologists continue to explore what is best at what age and I've listed these ideas below.
How to raise a smart baby
It turns out that parenting, is the most important aspect in raising smart kids. High tech learning aids, videos like Baby Einstein, toys, etc., have been shown to have only a modest effect, and may even be detrimental if they replace human contact.
This is not to say that they are not of benefit, but that they are nowhere near as important as one-on-one parenting activities like reading to your baby, direct eye contact, explaining what you are doing while doing it, etc.
It seems that the single most effective way to improve babies brain power is to read big , vibrant picture books with your baby. It is most important to let them participate by pointing to pictures, making their own versions up, etc.. this trains their imagination and brain wiring and thus all those synapses are linked in meaningful ways. So next time you read to your toddler and they keep interrupting, don't shush them so that you can finish the story!
Perhaps the best thing you can do to help your baby's intellectual development, is to feed their brain. Dr. Sears explains this very nicely.
Cognitive brain development - Thinking and reasoning
Discover how black and white pictures have been known to stimulate a baby's brain with help of a mother of three in this free video on baby development.
Audio and visual stimulation from Johnsons Baby
This video sponsored by Johnsons Baby stimulates the audio visual parts of the brain in order to promote early understanding and enhance the ability to grasp new concepts.
TV and Kids - The facts
Kids play for shorter periods when TV is on in the background.
Thirty-two percent of kids 6 and under live in homes where the TV is on all or most of the time.
Seventy-four percent of all infants and toddlers watch TV before their second birthday.
In 1970, the average age at which kids started watching TV was 4; today it is 4 months.
Forty-three percent of children under age 2 watch TV every day, and 18 percent watch videos or DVDs every day.
Kids are slower to start a task they see on screen vs. live.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no TV before age 2 -- and no more than 2 hours after.