Focus: Engagement and Disengagement Cues
Parents often have an image of the kind of person they want their baby to grow up to be-smart, kind, thoughtful, successful, a good person.
Parents play the largest role in making this happen. Research shows that the key is responsive care- the process of watching and tuning into your baby’s cues and thinking about what his or her behavior might mean for you to respond in a sensitive way. Learn ways to read and respond to the different ways your baby talks to you.
Focus: Social Communication
Good communication development starts in the first year of life and goes far beyond learning how to talk.
It has its roots in social interaction with parents and other caregivers during everyday activities. From play to eating, diapering, or getting out the door, each moment is important because it helps your baby connect with you, listen, learn language, and sets the stage for other skills to flourish.
Learn ways to build your baby’s use of eye contact, facial expressions, and gestures to engage and share attention, interests, and ideas.
Before babies can speak, they begin to copy what they see and hear. They start by imitating your gestures and movements and over time this progresses to sounds and words. When you copy them, they copy you. And vice versa. It is a two-way street that teaches babies the back-and-forth nature of communication. I talk, then you talk. You talk, then I talk. And so on.
Research shows that the more often a parent does this, the stronger the response in the language parts of the baby’s brain for predicting language growth and other skills. Learn four types of imitations and ways to practice with your baby.
Focus: Early Literacy
Even though babies cannot always hold a book or do not know the letters of the alphabet, reading helps babies’ development in so many ways. It introduces babies to different sounds and words that grows their vocabulary and stimulates their imagination.
Babies learn their native language and develop their speech with the more words they hear. They also benefit from an emotional connection with the person reading to them. Research shows that parents or other caregivers who read books create a love for books and a passion for reading that stays with children over time.
Learn tips for selecting and reading books to help make the most of your reading time with your baby and strengthening listening, memory, vocabulary, and communication skills.
Focus: Gross Motor
Physical play and other movement activities encourage babies to use their minds and bodies together. Babies focus, explore, and problem-solve as they learn how to move, act, and coordinate different parts of their bodies.
Research shows that babies with better movement and coordination with their bodies are better communicators too. Learn different activities and positions to move your baby’s body and encourage active engagement, concentration, and communication.
Focus: Emotions and Behavior
Infancy is an exciting time of growth, active exploration, and a newfound sense of autonomy and independence. With this excitement also comes big feelings and frustrations with not being able to fully communicate or do something independently they want to do.
Upset behaviors happen and it can be troubling to know how to handle these or what is a typical part of a baby’s growth and development. Learn tips to minimize challenging moments and work through the tears.
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