|Newborn Tips#1: Don't Hush-A-Bye-Baby|
|You don't have to be quiet while the baby is sleeping. The womb is loud, and newborns are used to the noise. When ours first came home, we watched television and I would vacuum, wash dishes and talk on the phone around her while she slept. She got used to sleeping with noise, and I could get stuff done. I am still able to vacuum in her room while she sleeps (she is 14 months), and she is peaceful and well rested when she wakes up.|
|Newborn Tips#2: Soothe Your Wailing Newborn|
|When my baby cries, I comfort her by patting her back in a heartbeat-like rhythm. That helps her burp more quickly, and it also helps her relax if she's crying from insecurity. If this doesn’t work, I also try one or all of Dr. Harvey Karp's five calming moves: swaddling, shushing, holding her on her side, swinging her or letting her suck. Sometimes it takes all six!|
We all want our children to grow up to be smart and to this end many of us will go to a lot of effort to try and help develop their reasoning skills and their communication. Some parents even go as far as to play Mozart to their children while they're still in the womb due to the rumours that this can help to improve their IQs.
While there is little evidence to support the latter method however, there nevertheless are ways we can help our children to develop the various mental skills they need to succeed without being branded a nut job by our peers and while actually enjoying time with our children. Of course these all involve actually interacting with our children or giving them objects for them to interact with.
Using toys then and games it's very possible to help improve our children's intellectual development, so how do you go about this, and how do you choose the toys that will help your children to grow and learn? Here we will look at how to make the most of playtime to help stimulate your children.
Choosing the Toys
|Newborn Tips#3: Help Get Your Baby to Latch|
|If you are having latch-on issues while breastfeeding your baby, you can use breast shields to help the process. This was a wonderful tip that I learned from my lactation consultant. I had to use the shields for an entire month before my baby would latch onto my own nipple without them. Had it not been for the breast shields, I would not have been able to continue nursing my baby.|
|Newborn Tips#4: Get Prepped|
|At 3 weeks, babies’ days and nights become more predictable, and you can focus on yourself in addition to your newborn. One way to do that is by reducing your stress level - and having everything ready for your hungry baby and yourself is one way to do that. Start by prepping for the next feeding as soon as the previous one is over. For example, after an 11 p.m. feeding, get ready for the 2 a.m. one by prepping whatever you need for feeding and putting out fresh drinking water for yourself so you don’t have anything to think about in the middle of the night. During the day, take advantage of the baby’s naps to work out, shower or catch up on e-mail, or take a nap too.|
First of all you need to be able to choose your children's toys wisely and pick the ones that will provide the best challenge and the most stimulation for them. Note that of course any toy will help your child to learn simply from their handling them and interacting with them, but specific toys and games can help to develop particular skills. For instance if you want to nurture your child's imagination and their spatial reasoning then Lego blocks can make a great gift once they're old enough. This way they will be able to have a go at basic engineering and can learn a lot of basic physics. On the other hand a drawing or colouring pad can also be good for creativity, while on the other hand puzzles and pegs are great for getting them to develop their reasoning skills and their memory.
What's more important than just choosing the toys themselves though is helping our children to play with them. If you can interact with your children using the toys for instance, then right away you will get more from them because you will be able to ask them questions and 'test' them. Games like pairs (also called memory) are of course great for improving memory, while you can also play simple board games with them.
Getting your children to play with friends and other children though can also be very effective at improving a range of cognitive skills. This is because they will not only be forced to communicate, but will also be able to share ideas and to learn from one another. Studies have shown that IQ improves at a more rapid rate when children engage in group play compared to playing alone – so look into getting toys that they can use with one another and with you and then encourage them to be social.
|Newborn Tips#5: Keeping Your Baby Awake During Feedings|
|When our baby was eating slowly and sleepily, my husband and I would massage her cheek to stimulate her to eat faster. A gentle stroke with a fingertip on her cheek was all it took, and on those long sleepless nights, this simple trick was a godsend! Our friends have found it works great with their infants too. When babies eat efficiently until they're full before going to sleep, they sleep for longer between feedings. And that means you’re both likely to be calmer!|
|Newborn Tips#6: Help Your Baby Bond with Dad|
|Make sure your baby has ample time alone with Daddy. His touch and voice are different than yours, and this will begin a bonding process and give you a break. Plus, it gets the baby used to being with someone other than you. The first few times can be hard. Make sure your baby is fed and well rested, as this will give you at least one or two hours before you're needed again. Then leave Dad and the baby alone. If you stay nearby, make sure the baby can’t see or hear you, and resist the urge to go into the room and "fix" things if she starts crying. Your baby cries with you and you experiment to find out what's wrong. Dads need time to do this too - in their own way. By allowing this time, your child will learn there is more than one way to receive comfort, which will help immensely when you leave your baby with a sitter or another family member for the first time. You could have your partner bathe her, put her to bed or just read or talk to her.|