Your little one’s mind is hard at work. You can see it every time your baby reacts to your smile. Every time your toddler plays catch with you or finds the right puzzle piece. Every time they tell you what they want to eat or pick out their own shirt to wear.
The earliest years of life are key for healthy brain development. Brains are built from the bottom up. The earliest skills create the foundation for more advanced skills. Loving relationships and positive experiences help create the brain connections that your baby needs for success later in life.
The good news for parents: You don’t have to do anything out of the ordinary to help your child’s brain grow to be strong and well connected. When you talk to your baby, give them time to respond with sounds or facial expressions. Follow their cues so they see how you react. Ask your child’s opinion, and use words like “why” and “how”. Let them make decisions about what game to play or book to read. Let them struggle with simple challenges – like stacking blocks or putting a book on the shelf – while letting them know you’ll be supportive when they do hard things.
What does your little one learn from all of this? They learn the skills that will help them in school and beyond: How to get along with others, solve problems, be creative, manage their feelings, and meet new challenges.
It has been a hard few months for parents. COVID-19 has added a lot of stress to all our lives. Hopefully, you feel reassured knowing that the little things you do every day are helping your child’s brain develop.
You got this!