The golden age of learning begins at birth and during the newborn period, parents are bub’s best teachers.
“There is incredible potential for cognitive development during those early years,” says Shiao-Ling Lim, who runs Shichida education centres in Melbourne and Sydney.
As she explains, learning doesn’t need to be formal, or necessarily structured, “it’s really a matter of maximising what you are already doing with your baby”. Here, she shares these simple, at-home activities to ramp up your baby’s brainpower:
EYE MUSCLE TRAINING
Use a puppet and get your baby’s attention – then encourage her to follow the puppet with her eyes as you move it from left to right, up and down and in semicircles. As adults, our vision narrows, but this exercise can help retain a baby’s wide field of vision.
PLAY WITH DIFFERENT TEXTURES
Expose your baby to the five senses to stimulate the brain and provide her with language, just make sure you’re consistent with the words you use so she can understand. If you call something ‘hot’, always use that word, rather than substitute words with the same meaning. Try using comparisons, such as rough versus smooth, or hot versus cold.
From 12 months, you can start to train the memory. Tell your baby a story using flash cards and see how many she can remember – she may not be able to speak yet but observe her eyes for recall.