Do you want to give your children the best opportunities for success in life? Your children’s early years are very important to their lifelong development. One of the most important ways you can support your children is what you are already doing: being their first and best teacher. According to Dana Brumm, Curriculum Specialist for Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and West Allis/Wauwatosa, “When babies are born, the parts of their brains that handle thinking and remembering as well as emotional and social behavior are undeveloped. This means that the relationships and experiences they have will greatly impact the way their brain develops and is ‘wired’ for success.” Consider following these simple tips to help build your baby’s brain power.
Never Underestimate the Power of Snuggling
Because babies experience the world through their senses, Brumm points out that it is extremely important for parents and caregivers to nurture young children in order to help foster their brain development.
“Holding, rocking, smiling, and talking to your baby, strengthens the emotional connections that lead to secure relationships which is critical for brain development,” says Brumm. “Research has proven that children who grow up in a secure environment, where they are nurtured and know that they are a loved, are better able to cope with difficult times when they are older, are more likely to get along better with others, and ultimately perform better in school.”
Why Reading Is Critical
Brumm says, in addition to nurturing your baby, it’s never too early to begin reading to your children. Reading sparks children’s curiosity, stimulates their imagination, and starts them down a positive path of learning.
She says babies are mesmerized by brightly colored books with rhythmic language, and they learn speech development through the repetition of words. Plus, reading is the perfect way to introduce new concepts, ideas, and places.
Anderson recommends that parents spend a minimum of 20 minutes each day reading out loud to their young children. She also encourages parents talk and sing to their babies on a regular basis to help stimulate brain development.
Encouraging Learning Through Play
In addition to reading, Brumm says play is a wonderful way to help a baby’s brain develop. It is important to let children simply play and explore to encourage brain development.
“There is a great deal of research out there that says that children under the age of four learn best through play,” says Brumm. Play might be a game, talking, or singing to actively engage your child’s brain. “Peek-a-boo” and holding toys out to watch help a baby’s brain develop. Talk to your baby about what you are doing. For young children, sing songs with actions (like “Wheels on the Bus”), encourage pretend play, color, and build with blocks and toys. These activities foster imagination and creativity.
Ebenezer Child Care Centers is a not-for-profit, locally based agency committed to providing early childhood programs from the heart. The agency prides itself on being different from other child care providers in that it offers a home-like atmosphere; individualized, nurturing care; and a structured curriculum that is virtues-based for every child’s developmental stage.
Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. In addition to providing quality care, the agency also offers free Parenting Talks and other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.
The agency has locations in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and West Allis/Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1138 S. 108th Street, West Allis. For more information, please call 414-643-5070 or visit the agency’s website at www.ebenezerchildcare.com.