Infants develop at a rapid pace. Their brains and motor movements, their behaviors, are all being influenced by the learning experiences they have as well as by the genetics they are born with.
Here are 5 behavior-based strategies to support infant development.
- Give your baby a variety of learning opportunities related to sensory input. You can do this by making sounds to your baby, playing music, and talking to your baby. Also, you can give your baby different textural experiences such as by placing different blankets on him. You should also touch him often, such as by holding him or rubbing his back, to give him physical contact.
- Support social skills development by interacting with your baby. Social skills, particularly the ability to connect to and interact with others, can be supported by looking at your baby’s face and eyes and by giving positive facial expressions such as smiling at your baby.
- Talk to your baby often. To help support communication skills, particularly language development, talk to your baby often. One way to help your baby eventually learn to speak is by modeling speech that your baby is likely to pick up on over time.
- Promote visual and attention skills. Hold an item within 6-12 inches from your baby’s face and then slowly move it back and forth. See if your baby will follow the item with his eyes or even reach out to grab or touch the item with his hands. This can support vision and attending skills.
- Support your child’s brain development. Brain development is supported through behavioral activities that your child engages in as well as environmental stimuli in your baby’s surroundings. Things a parent does such as labeling items in your baby’s environment often so that your baby can learn the names of common stimuli can help support the brain.
Other activities to support all sorts of infant developmental domains include ensuring that basic needs are adequately and consistently taken care of. An infant needs sleep, nutrition, attention, safety and security to develop optimally.
The strategies in this article are just a few examples of behavior-based activities that can be used to support an infant’s development. There are many more strategies that can help a baby develop in the various domains of growth.