Did you know that your child develops around 80% of their brain potential by the time they turn 3? Their first three years are a period of amazing growth in their brains. It is a once in a lifetime event where millions of brain cells are going to be created.
But research has shown that the intellectual skills of a child don’t just rely on their brain cells. They ultimately end up depending on the existence of a number of connections between the brain cells. The more the connections created during early development, the more the brain will have the power to process information or solve problems in as they grow older.
Developmental studies have shown that sensory stimulation is a very effective exercise when it comes to increasing the amount of infant’s brain cell connections. Sensory stimulation basically refers to the impact which the environment has on the mind and body as we are receiving information through sensory organs.
These stimulations may be delivered using soothing activities which involve sound, sight, touch, smell and vestibular activity. Here are a few of the most popular activities:
- Sound: This is a very powerful channel. A lot of parents say that exposing their infants to some soothing music when they are young help with intellectual development. There is also proof that children who listen to classical music have higher IQ’s than those who don’t get this stimulation. Try playing some classical music for your baby and see how they react.
- Sight: Vision is usually limited in babies. It is the last sense of theirs which fully develops. As a result of this, they usually tend to prefer the high contrast colors like black and red. In order to stimulate their vision, the best thing to do is to create flashcards by coloring and drawing various pictures. Introduce the cards while playing and see how they respond to the various types of visual stimulation.
- Touch: What you can do here is let your infant experience the touch of different cloth textures while you are massaging them after their bath.
- Smell: This is a very powerful sense. It is important that you stimulate this sense. It can be done with the help of a number of aromatherapy candles. Every child has a different sensory profile. It is important to experiment with various smells until the correct scent has been discovered.
- Vestibular activity: What you do here is to rock your baby while they are listening to their favorite lullaby. You could even try some simple games of hand-eye coordination and any other activities which require motor skills.
Remember, that sensory stimulation isn’t just about exposing babies to various stimuli. That’s why you shouldn’t feel afraid to change up the activities and experiment with various different ones. Here are a few recommendations:
Baby sit ups
If the baby has learnt to control their head then lay them on their back and put your hands under their arms and guide them to a sitting position gently. As they gain muscle tone, start holding their hands and doing the same thing. Just like the case is with adults, a babies muscles strengthen when they keep doing to the same exercise over and over.
When the baby is in an alert yet quiet state, undress them to their diaper and then lay them face up on a blanket or soft towel in a quiet, warm room. Work in different sections according to the baby’s tolerance levels. Apply gentle but firm strokes on their legs, belly and arms. This helps build body awareness in babies.
Follow the leader
Try to see how many of your actions they can imitate consecutively. Try things like clapping, tapping a table, waving, opening and closing hands, etc. Try and start with something that they are already doing so that it is easy for them to do.
Lay them belly down on your lap and put your hands on their midsection so that they have your full support. Then lift them up gently and move them around like a spaceship. Add some sound effects to make them laugh too.