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Baby Brains

FatherwithyellowstrollerI love babies and I have to confess, my heart gets touched big time when I see fathers walking their babies or toddlers in their prams or strollers. I regularly see a grandfather strolling at a snail’s pace, pushing a mysterious grandchild in a large pram. He nods politely but I’ve often wondered if he felt that if he rushed, he might jar the baby awake as he keeps the pace even when rain threatens and it is sprinkling. And for all I know, he could be pushing a large watermelon in that pram as I’ve never seen the bub to date. He always has a muslin cover over the pram, but what a lovely grandfather he is to do this regularly and with such patience!

FatherwithmobilephoneWhat is astounding at times however, is the opportunities that the fathers and at times, mothers, are ‘wasting’ in not interacting or conversing with the child! You have a captive audience parents, why not make the most of it! I have to admit, I feel crestfallen when I see a parent reading or talking on their mobile or cell phone while automatically pushing the pram and not taking that opportunity to engage with their child.

We have heard often enough that a baby’s brain is like a sponge that is ready to soak up information as fast as it can, so, when scientists point out that 90 percent of the brain develops within the first five years of a child’s life and triples in weight by three years of age, we as parents, need to take note!  Would you also believe, billions, that is, not hundreds or thousands, or even millions, but billions of nerve connections or synapses are established in that time frame and these nerve connections are twice that of any adult? It is therefore imperative to stimulate and engage your child within those first three years of their life.

Remember folks, we are always being advised that ‘communication’ is the key! So go ahead and talk to your child! Babies love being engaged in conversation and happily interact with any adult who will smile and spend the time talking to them. They will giggle, laugh and coo whenever someone plays ‘peek-a-boo’ or recites a nursery rhyme with actions with them.

ButterflyonflowerI would often sing nursery rhymes while pushing the stroller or comment about the butterfly on the flower; the bird singing somewhere in the bush; the fluffy clouds overhead; the train travelling past in the distance or even the sound of a truck braking. My face would be animated as I would enthuse, ‘wasn’t that a noisy truck or listen to the call of that whipbird.’ My baby would listen intently absorbing the words, the enunciation, the expression and my enthusiasm.

And in the words of neurobiologist Martha Pierson, of the Baylor College of Medicine, ‘Children need a flood of information, a banquet, a feast!’ What exactly is she implying? She is encouraging adults to bombard and engage the mind of a baby with sounds, facts, figures, fiction and definitely, fantasy.

Sing to them, tease their minds with nursery rhymes, drive their imagination with tales of fantasy, and tickle their sense of humour with nonsensical poems and comedy. And all that can be done on the daily or weekly walk in their pram!

© Wendy Robinson September 2015

When you hold your baby in your arms for the first time, and you think of all the things you can say and do to influence him, it’s a tremendous responsibility. What you do with him can influence not only him, but everyone he meets and not for a day or a month or a year but for time and eternity. ~ Rose Kennedy

Disclaimer: The photos are not my own but are courtesy of the internet photo images.

Your comments stimulate more comments, so please let me know your thoughts.

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Comments on: "Baby Brains" (16)

  1. Yes, and not only that, but if a child is to become detail oriented, that is also something that needs to develop in the first five years of their lives….or so I’ve heard. Great piece Wendy!

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    • Thank you Marissa. Interesting bit about developing and working on being ‘detail oriented’ and it makes sense. Making that connection and bond (of talking and relating) when young may contribute to better understanding, communication and relationship in their critical teenage years as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such an important piece! I hope I remember your advice when I have children of my own!

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    • I found it easy as I fell in love with my babies and couldn’t get enough of them. I found however, that they were all early talkers and communicated well with their peers and more importantly, they developed a curiosity for nature and new experiences. Thank you for commenting! Now I’m curious about your site! 😀

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  3. Like you I love children. Whenever I see a young children my heart melts and I want to smile and interact with them BUT I’m a man and these days I am so afraid that my intentions will be misinterpreted that I have to hold back. It really is a sad indictment of the world today.

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  4. Afrika Bohemian said:

    I could not agree more and it hurts how this days we do not engage more with our children because the mobile phone has taken all the attention. On another note I have nominated you for the Infinity award, keep the inspiration going and thanks for being such a great friend on the blogosphere. Check out the link at http://www.tribe53.com/?p=1222

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  5. And take the pacifer (binky) out of the baby’s mouth so that they can talk back to you!

    Do you ever notice that a lot of men like to push the stroller with one hand, like their too cool to use two? Give that baby your full attention!

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    • Oddly enough, I have and I totally agree – it’s as though they either want to pretend they’re not the father or that this ‘pushing the pram chore’ is beneath them. Or as you stated, it’s not cool! Thank you for commenting. 😊

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  6. You’re absolutely right. The parents are the only source of trustworthy information the child has about the world. They need our undivided attention. It just sorta comes with being a parent…good post, thanks.

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  7. I suspect a lot of humor also develops at this early stage. I often shared jokes with my kids when they were young and I feel that this may have spurred their development in some ways too, although I have no particular scientific evidence to offer to back me up on this. 🙂

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    • Although, as you say, there is no scientific basis for it, I’m sure your children have exhibited an appreciation for humour and have, perhaps come out with comical or funny retorts from time to time. You can then pat your self on the back for introducing and encouraging a sense of humour in them.
      Thank you for your comment Bun.

      Liked by 1 person

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