Babies bring us new experiences and emotions of an incredible intensity.Our joy, love and hope make us want to give them the best lives possible. Our baby´s psychological and emotional development forms a vital part of learning how to get the most out of life.

While the word “development” conjures up images of teachers and experts, the reality is that you are the best educator of your child. Babies have super-absorbent brains, designed to soak up every kind of information from the get-go, and the first three years of life are action-packed with learning in a way that adults can only dream of. Best of all, the secret to success is having fun. Babies’ brains grow and thrive on a diet of affection, variety and laughter. Here are five simple ways you can help your baby to develop.

Meet lots of people

The tiniest babies learn about the world around them through their senses: especially touch, sight, hearing and (one that adults sometimes forget) smell. Human contact is the most essential way to experience the senses. No baby can get enough hugs, kisses, tickles and peek-a-boo games from people who love them, and a bit of variety helps development even more. Both you and your baby can delight in the endless imagination of other people as they pull faces, stick their tongues out, play physical games and make funny noises.

Spending regular time with family, friends or playgroup members at all baby ages helps to develop confidence around different people and engage with them easily.In time, this social facility will make it easier to adapt to kindergarten and school.

Play with toys

Toys are one of the most exciting parts and treasured memories of childhood, and there is a good reason for that. Playing is a fantastic way for babies to learn to about absolutely everything. Well-chosen baby toys for different baby ages improve everything from motor skills to language and math.

Ideally, your baby can spend lots of time playing with you, and as time goes on, learn to play alone. People laugh that the cardboard box is more fun than the toys but boxes end up in the garbage while the best and most beloved toys stay around forever.

Educational toys have come a long way since we parents were kids, and the range of colors, textures and playful ideas is truly inspiring. Choose the right toy and you have hours of fun and learning for a happy baby and parent.

Don´t forget bath time toys that turn a routine activity into another opportunity for learning and fun. Have you ever tried an underwater car race?

Explore the outside world

Getting out and about is always an adventure for little ones, who delight in all kinds of weather.Sun, rain and wind all have their interest and it might even make you reconsider your mood during what adults term “bad weather”.

You can get your baby used to a world of outdoor sounds right from the start. Whatever you have near home is all new and interesting to your new companion in the world. Birds, wind-blown trees, children playing, vehicles and markets are all fascinating and different.

As your baby gets old enough to sit up and crawl around, find grass and trees to touch. Pick up leaves and pine cones and watch harmless bugs, remembering to pack away any personal distaste so you can join in with your baby´s fresh curiosity.

Love books from the start

It´s never too early to introduce your baby to books,even when the actual story is not yet of interest. Very young babies like touching the pages, or watching as you turn them. Their natural curiosity in the physical object is merged with pleasure when it means cuddling time and a shared activity. Try reading your own book aloud to tiny babies for a few minutes, because the sound of your voice is interesting and soothing.

As soon as your baby is old enough to enjoy cardboard books, explore the colors and textures together. Some books have cut out shapes and even sound effects. Regular storytelling, especially at bedtime, blends affection and learning perfectly. Use funny voices and facial expressions, or change the names of lead characters to people you know for a truly interactive experience.

All kinds of music 

Singing to your baby is an age-old custom so don´t be shy!Remember Itsy Bitsy Spider and Row, Row, Row Your Boat? It´s time to enjoy them all over again. There are fantastic versions of most children´s songs on the Internet, in every style imaginable.

Repetition is wonderful, perhaps more to baby than to you, but the educational value is tremendous.When you are doing daily things together, make up words and simple tunes for everyday phrases, such as “time to go to bed”.It does not matter if you are not crazy about Mozart.  The baby is as likely to enjoy and benefit from any music you like. Just keep the volume on the rock music down, as babies’ hearing is much more sensitive than that of adults.

Babies respond especially well to simple drumbeats and melodies. Dance or sway with your baby in your arms or let your baby watch as you move, clap your hands and click your fingers. You might want to tap out the rhythm on baby’s hand to feel the beat. It is no coincidence that people who are good at music are also good at math, because they require similar brain functions. All music is good music.

Many parents feel pressure to ensure that they are providing their babies with the best start in life. The answer is as simple as it is profound. Exploration, playtime, cuddles and laughter are the things that we remember from our childhood because they helped us develop into the people we are today.

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