Cognitive Boosters: Birth - 3 Months
Updated: Mar 7, 2021
1. Waltz Me!
Perfect for: 0-3 months
Reason: Simple yet powerful, “waltzing” with your baby (gently swaying them in time to a waltz, such as the Blue Danube or Waltz of the Flowers) acts as a primer for the brain's rapidly strengthening synapses. Research has suggested a link between classical music (in general) and a child's ability to solve spatial problems quickly if exposed to classical music as a baby. The rhythmic swaying in time with the music also helps to calm baby, and offers a peaceful bonding experience for both caregiver and child.
2. High-Contrast Imagery
Perfect for: 0 - 5 months
Reason: When your baby is born, their retinas are only developed enough to detect contrasts (not color) between light and dark. However, visual input during the earliest months of baby's life has significant impact on the developing nervous system. The best way to support baby's strengthening vision and rapid-fire brain growth is to provide high-contrast toys, books, and even clothing in a range of 8-12 inches away for your newborn. This will stimulate the development of the optic nerve.
Perfect for: All Ages
Reason: There is a TON of research and a plethora of reasons to share why reading is so important for newborns and children of all ages. From birth-3 months exposure to words read aloud has a powerful impact: The more exposure the more that network of words will form in your baby's brain, gearing them up for speaking. They may not understand everything you're saying, but their brains are storing this information for later. During this time, the 0-3 month baby is also looking at pages and already beginning to focus on the simple patterns present there.
I love this quote from parents.com: "Studies have shown that children who were read to as newborns have a larger vocabulary, and more advanced mathematical skills, than other kids their age. ... There's also a direct link between how many words a baby hears each day and their language skills. One study found that babies whose parents spoke to them a lot scored higher on standard tests when they reached age 3 than children whose parents weren't as verbal."
This is one of many reasons why the caregivers at Chickadee will speak to your baby all day long, in gentle tones, in addition to reading, reading, reading. Happy brain boosters, everyone!
Hollie McLachlan, M.Ed. has been caring for and educating children in the private and public sectors since 2002. She is the founder and co-owner of Chickadee Infant and Toddler Care.