Looking for Regional Information?

5 Ways To Make Your Baby Smarter

By Charles Hopkins Published 10/23/2007 | Parenting
More and more parents today are aware of how important it is to develop a baby's brain. Gone are the days where parents branded babies as too young to learn anything. Now the opposite is true. Many have adopted the idea that a child's critical learning time are during their first few years. Therefore, it is no surprise that the question of "how do I make my baby smarter?" has become a popular discussion topic among parents.

So, what can a parent do to make their baby smarter?

1. Develop and strengthen the connection between your child's right and left-brain.

This will help to increase their brain's function as a whole. Encourage cross pattern exercises such as walking, swimming and crawling. Cross pattern refers to coordinated movement of the right arm left leg, and left arm right leg. Even children who can already walk will benefit from crawling exercises. You could make it into a fun game such as crawling races or playing catch. Even brain-injured children have shown improvements by doing crawling exercises.

If you have very young babies, do the cross pattern movements for them. Bring up both the right are and left leg and tap them together. Do the same for the left arm and right leg. Sing a nursery rhyme as you do so to add to the fun. Other baby exercises include repeated crossing of the arms and legs.

2. Massage your baby to harness the power of touch.

A study of Romanian orphans led to an understanding that just feeding and changing babies is not enough. Babies that are deprived of human touch experience a decrease in brain development. Therefore, set aside some time to bond with your baby through baby massages. Choose a time when baby is calm, relaxed and comfortable such as after a bath. Start your massage from the head and work down to the toes. If you are pressed for time, just do a quick feet massage. First gently massage both feet at the same time. Then massage alternate foot. Besides helping baby's brain development, baby massage also helps relief colic symptoms, improves circulation and digestion, strengthens immunity and lessens tension and irritability.

3. Play music, sing and dance with your baby
.
Music can enhance your baby's spatial intelligence, mathematical ability, linguistic ability and emotional intelligence. Some parents opt for classical music. Children songs, nursery rhymes and lullabies are good too. It doesn't matter if you are a lousy singer sing anyway. You could even make up your own songs or modify the lyrics. Later when babies become toddlers, let them have a go at musical instruments. Make your own shakers or just let them play drum on a tin can. Teach them to clap to a rhythm or echo a simple tune. Scout around for a "music and movement" playgroup and join in the fun.

4. Constantly talk to you baby.
The fact that they can't talk back yet doesn't mean they aren't listening and digesting the information. As you go about your daily activities, describe to baby what you are doing. Talk about the things you see and hear. If you are in the kitchen preparing a meal, imagine you are hosting a cooking show. If you run out of ideas on what to say, use the alphabet to guide you. For example, "A" could be for apple. Go into details that relate to apples such as the color of apples, how does it taste like, where can you find them, and what can you do with them. Maybe include a song about apples.

Betty Hart and Todd Risley found in their study of 42 children that those who had heard more words early in their life later developed higher IQs and richer vocabularies. They also performed better in elementary school.

5. Read to your babies.

Don't wait until they have stopped chewing books or tearing pages. Read through those stages and make it part of your daily routine. Babies have short attention spans so conduct short reading sessions but do it often. Don't force learning to take place. Keep it fun and relaxed. Focus more on developing their love for books. Reading aloud to children helps to develop many pre-reading skills. When they are ready for formal lessons, watch them excel.

Baby brains are excellent learning machines. It is not difficult or expensive to raise a smart baby. What it requires is your time, attention and commitment to interact and to provide a stimulating environment.

Face painting and makeup provide an important finishing touch that can transform a basic and simple homemade costume into an overall effect that is truly unique and distinctive.