When it comes to your baby’s brain, there’s new news, and it’s good news. The latest research has shown the first five years are when the brain is growing the fastest — and it’s shaped by every interaction your baby has with you.
New science has revealed that every time you talk and play with your baby, you’re actually sparking new, healthy connections in the brain. It may not seem like much from the outside, but these connections are the vital foundation your baby’s brain will need for the future. So, the more you connect with your little one now, the better your baby will do later on in school and in life.
And the best news of all? You already have everything you need to build a healthy, strong brain in the time you have. No special toys needed, nothing to add to your to do list, and it’s absolutely free (phew!). Thanks to the dedicated neuroscientists and child development experts at Vroom, there are simple things you can do now that will make a big difference in your baby’s future.
The Basics of Brain Building
We tend to connect learning with school, but learning begins at birth. Your little one is already taking in everything you say and do, and using that information to better understand the world. But what, specifically, should you be saying or doing to nurture that growth?
New science is teaching us the key to brain-building is the back and forth moments you have with your child, or what researchers call “serve and return” interactions. Dr. Jack Shonkoff, Vroom advisor and Director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, says "Look for your child’s serves (initiating opportunities to interact) and return them (with appropriate responses like smiles, words, pointing, play, cuddles, or conversation).” It’s amazing that something so simple is actually turning your child’s brain on so deeply.
While you’re going about your daily activities together, keep these five brain-building basics in mind:
Try these easy Vroom activities to start welcoming your child into the world of words. While each moment may seem small on its own, together these everyday interactions with your child add up to build the essential foundation your child needs for future learning.
Daily Moment: Diaper Changing
When you’re changing a diaper, make funny noises and see if you can make your baby giggle or coo, then giggle and coo back. See how many times you can go back and forth. Follow your child’s lead and have a conversation with faces and sounds.
Brainy Background: By following your baby’s lead and also responding, you’re building connections for conversation and language later on.
Daily Moment: Getting Dressed
Even if your baby doesn’t seem to understand, explain everything you’re doing as you get ready in the morning. Start with how you picked out clothes and go from there. Make eye contact and respond back to the sounds your baby makes.
Brainy Background: Think of yourself as a sports announcer — one who responds back with sounds and faces. These back and forth conversations are helping your baby bond with you and begin to associate words with experiences.
Daily Moment: Mealtime
When feeding, use the time to tell a story about something happy you remember from your childhood. When your baby is finished eating and responds to your voice, make the same sound back.
Brainy Background: Your voice is your child's favorite sound. Even though your baby can't say words yet, your little one is listening and learning what sounds go together in words, which is an important first step towards language.
What is Vroom? Vroom is a team of neuroscientists and child development experts, dedicated to turning the everyday moments you have with your child into brain-building moments. Vroom offers hundreds of ways to look at these moments in your routine differently, which can make a big difference in your child’s development.