Thursday, May 27, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 44: The Interaction is the Thing!

Even what you might consider the most mundane activities can become pivotal infant stimulation activities that enhance your baby’s brain development. Remember, two things: 1) every activity is new to your infant and 2) it is all about the interaction and fun the two of you have together.

One of our favorite summertime activities was eating corn on the cob, and of course you have to husk the corn. My husband and son would sit in the backyard and enjoy this activity together at least once a week all summer long. Yes, my son, as an infant would interact with his father husking corn!

The stimulators were great – the feel of the grass, the sound of his father’s voice, the texture of the corn cob, and of course all the scents that go with being outside in the summer time. This is a treasured memory – and the husking still remains one of their favorite summertime activities!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 43: voice pitch

Did you know that when your newborn hears a high pitched voice (the common way we tend to speak to babies) his heartrate increases which means he is happy, secure, and cheerful.

Change the pitch of your voice from high to low as you talk or sing. Offer your baby a variety of sounds, but be sure her reactions are positive. And keep smiling so she knows this is a fun game.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 42 : snuggle & cuddle

Hold you infant in your arms. Rock her gently and whisper "I love you."

Research shows that infants who are cuddled, snuggled, and held actually grow up to be more secure and independent.

Naturally you will be holding, rocking, and snuggling your baby, but make this an actual 15 minute infant stimulation activity as often as you like . . . (every day?!)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 41: motion

Let baby sit on your lap or if it is still very little lay across your thighs. Bounce your legs up and down softly and allow your baby to feel the motion. Make sure he is enjoying himself. After 15-30 seconds stop bouncing, you may even say cheerfully, “and stop.” After a few seconds say “go” and begin softly bouncing again.

If your infant enjoys this, feel free to vary the baby’s position. Move a newborn to face the other direction or move your infant from facing away from you to facing toward you.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 40: silly sounds

Never forget that infant stimulation is about enhancing the wonderful relationship with your baby through fun and play. And what better way to have fun than with silly sounds. Lay your infant on the bed or have him sitting in his carrier. Be sure he is in a good mood and so are you. Tell him what you are going to do "Are you ready for some silly sounds?" or "Mama is going to make some silly sounds for you." Then make a funny sound with your tongue or your lips (please check out the video for one idea). Make sure you are smiling and laughing and showing your baby how much fun silly sounds are. And as you will see in this video, do not be surprised when your baby comes back with his own silly sound or even repeats yours!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 39: quiet time

Sometimes the best stimulation is no stimulation. Be sure you are reading your infant’s mood to determine what activity is best:

An interactive activity is best when your baby is seeking you out with her eyes or reaching with her hands, or is generally alert and ready to go!

It is time for a solo activity if your baby is not tired or ready for sleep but is fussy or perhaps has just been highly stimulated, for example, by being outdoors or she has had a visitor. A quiet solo activity such as looking at her paper plate faces may be just what she needs.

Perhaps, however, it is time to lower the lights, block out general noises, and just sit together quietly. You can sing a quiet song, just rock, maybe read a book, but generally keep the activity level low.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 38: extended family

How wonderful that other members of the family want to enjoy the activities that you are doing with your infant. What a great stimulator to hear other voices, see other faces, and smell other scents.

The most important part of having others enjoy the infant stimulation program is having them understand that babies enjoy extended periods of interaction. This is not a fleeting moment of play, but a focused period of stimulation.

So perhaps Grandma and Grandpa, and Aunt and Uncle, and cousins, should observe what you have been doing, understand it, perhaps read this blog, or get the book How to Have a Smarter Baby, and they will have a great education in how to get directly involved in their new family member's health, happiness, and brain development!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 37: older siblings

Older siblings can be wonderful helpers in your Infant Stimulation Program. In fact, involving an older sibling in interaction with the baby is great way to smooth the transition of somebody new entering the family.

As siblings, they too need to build a positive relationship with one another. So teach your older child some infant stimulation techniques such as singing songs, talking to the baby, and general gentle playing. They probably will take to the "program" quite naturally!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 36: this little piggy

“This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home, this little piggy had roast beef, this little piggy had none, and this little piggy cried wee wee wee all the way home.”

This Little Piggy is a wonderful stimulation activity. There is language, interaction, expression, and touch . . . to the toes! You have learned to caress your baby’s head, face, and neck. And it is common to allow your baby to grasp your finger, but this fun game is all about the feet and toes. It is a whole new area of the body to stimulate.

Make sure you and your baby are having fun and be sure to give her a big kiss, on her toes, when you are finished!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Infant Stimulation Activity 35: security

Give your newborn the greatest sense of security you can. When your baby cries she needs something from you. At first you will question what she needs: is it time to eat, is she hungry, does she need her diaper changed, does she have gas and need to be burped? But never underestimate the simple need for comfort. This little baby is dependent on you for everything including warmth, love, and security. Stimulate her with as much warmth, love and security as you can. Yes, pick her up when she cries. Soothe her. Show her that she is secure and she is loved. You will never regret these actions.