Updated: Nov 13, 2019
A child’s life from the age 0-1 is a time where most development happens very fast! (see chart below) This time period is a very crucial time period where caregivers need to make sure they are making the most out of every situation with their babies. At this age, an infant’s brain is developing very fast and they are constantly learning and taking in all stimuli from their environments. It is the duty of anyone who is most around them- to make sure they are provided with enough and appropriate stimulus. Think about it like this… if one minute goes by without you communicating with your little one- that’s one lost minute of exponential growth.
(I found this data to be so interesting because it shows us that the brain is most active and most ready for development is between the ages of 0 and 1.)
One way to do this is by believing that every moment with your child is an opportunity for them to learn and grow. Time spent with your child needs to be made meaningful even if it’s not during an allotted “play” time. For example, some parents may think of changing their babies diaper a chore or task and wouldn’t necessarily think of it as an activity to benefit their child. Start believing that every task can be made meaningful. While you are changing your baby’s diaper, TALK to them. Give steps as to what you’re doing…“I’m going to pick you up now, UP UP UP!” You can mimic your baby’s sounds or actions that they are making, you can sing a nursery song or play peek-a-boo or simply maintain eye contact OR share a smile. Simple activities as these may not seem as though they have an effect on your child but doing them builds joint attention skills, helps with speech and vocabulary, develops receptive vocabulary, assists in social-emotional development and many more crucial development milestones.
So remember- when you’re tired because the little one keeps you up all night, the simplest thing you could do is just talk your way through the day and have them listen. Although it is important to make every moment an opportunity for development it is just as important for caregivers to take time out of their day to sit with their child and just play. Give your child your undivided attention for a half-hour to an hour each day. Play has such an important role when it comes to development in young children. Stay tuned for more on what activities and techniques you can do during playtime with your child!