Let’s face it: We all secretly want our kids to be the next big genius of their generation. While that’s statistically unlikely to become a reality, helping your children maximize their ability to think is still a win-win situation.
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Your children benefit from the brain boost their entire lives, and you can rest a bit easier knowing you did the best you could for them in all areas of life.
Here are five tips for helping your children make the most of their minds.
Bond With Baby
Bond with each baby as much as possible to increase his or her sense of security and overall wellbeing, both of these are needed for him or her to be receptive to learning. Your baby can sense your emotions and even take on some of your stress, according to WebMD.
Be as calm and serene as possible when you’re around your baby. Save the negative emotions for later when your child is sleeping or playing in the playpen. This can be very hard to do at first, especially if you’re experiencing a lot of stress or turmoil.
Get yourself into the habit by pausing for a minute or two to calm down before you engage with your baby if you’re in a mood.
Use Your Words
Verbal stimulation does wonders for children. Talk to your children and do so as often as possible. By engaging them in conversation and even narrating what you see, you’ll help your children develop their verbal skills and even sharpen their focus.
Put the tablet, with its learn-to-speak program, down and take the time to speak to your child numerous times a day. While electronic tools do have their place, nothing is a substitute for genuine human interaction, so let your child learn from you.
Slot In Face Time
Your children learn facial expressions right from their nearest source: you. The nonverbal skills your children pick up, such as how to tell someone’s state of emotions from their face, largely come from interaction with family members.
Make sure you spend as much time with your children as possible, even if it means juggling your schedule a little bit. Move dinner to a later time, for example, so you can spend some of that prep time with your children before they turn in for the night.
Prep for the morning the night before so you can enjoy some face time with your baby in the a.m., instead of rushing around to get him or her to daycare before you head off to work.
Watch The “Bucket” Trap
Your children spend a lot of time in “buckets,” from car seats to strollers. While keeping them comfortable is certainly a good goal, placing them in a seat can become a habit. Children need to move and explore for health, development and brain-boosting reasons.
When you have a tiny one, bring a blanket or mat with you when you’re on the go. Place your child on it when the opportunity arises so he or she gets some time to engage with the environment. Pen in some exploration time. For example, if you’re going to the grocery store, stop at the park for a few minutes and let your child crawl around in the grass.
Remember To Relax
Children do their best when they’re allowed to explore and engage on their own terms. Don’t stress about providing the ultimate learning environment. Instead, let your child be his or herself, preferably away from the TV or the computer. Human interaction is far more beneficial for boosting your children’s brains.