Let’s look again at that developmental elevator. A baby reaches each developmental floor equipped with certain competencies. How these competencies flower into skills depends upon interaction with the care giving environment baby finds on that floor. If the interaction is responsive and enriching, baby gets back on the elevator with more skills, and the ride up to the next floor is much smoother. Because baby reaches the next floor with more skills, the interaction on the next level of development is even more rewarding.
Make Your Own Chart
A valuable exercise during the first two years is to make your own growth and development chart like the one shown in this chapter. Using a large poster board, list the area A valuable exercise during the first two years is to make your own growth and development chart like the one shown in this chapter. Using a large poster board, list the areas of development down the left-hand side and monthly stages of development across the top. Divide the sheet into blocks and plot your baby’s skills. Concerning cognitive development, fill in what you think is going on in baby’s mind. For simplicity, you may wish to combine social and language milestones, as we have done on our chart and throughout. Charting your baby’s development not only improves your skills as a baby watcher, it adds your overall enjoyment of growing together.
Seven Ways To Build A Brighter Baby
You can make a difference in your baby’s brain development. New insights into how a baby’s brain grows show that parents can have a profound effect on how smart their child later becomes. The brain grows more during infancy than at any other time, tripling its weight and reaching approximately 60 percent of its adult size by one year. As the brain grows, nerve cells called neurons proliferate, resembling miles of tangled electrical wires. The infant is born with much of this wiring unconnected. During the first r, these neurons grow larger, learn to work better, and connect up with one another to make circuits that enable baby to think and do more things,
Here’s how these circuits work. The tips of each neuron resemble fingerlike feelers attempting to make connections with other nerves. During development two important improvements are made on this beginning nervous system. First, the number of connections between neurons increases, and second, each neuron acquires a coating called myelin, which helps messages move faster and insulates the nerve, preventing short circuits. The new and exciting field of neurobiology tells us that the more connections the nerve cells make, the smarter the child’s brain. Smart-start parenting means helping your baby’s brain make the right connections.