Love on that baby
Love on your baby. Then they’ll be really smart.
Love is in the air. Even though Valentine’s day focuses on romantic love, it’s a great time to hone in on the love connection between you and your child.
It’s amazing to realize that your child’s brain development in the first three years actually RELIES on loving interactions with you. The connections you make with your baby not only provide the basis for their emotional development but also their cognitive development.
Everything that happens, everything you do together creates neural connections. Which in turn, makes them smart!
Here are 50 ways to make loving connections with your child:
- When you catching them gazing at you, gaze back and smile.
- Touch their hand when you speak to them.
- Look at them in the rear view mirror of the car and catch their eye. Smile.
- Play hide and seek with a scarf.
- Hold her in front of a mirror and smile. Say “You are so smart and beautiful.” (To your child AND to yourself!)
- Regardless of how the night went, start the morning with a hug and gentle assurance that today’s going to be a good day.
- When your baby speaks to you, respond.
- Read 3 books together every day.
- Learn 1 new thing about child development every day.
- Name what you see in your child. “You are curious” “You can pick up cheerios” “You love your bunny”
- Compliment your child on things that have nothing to do with their looks.
- Sit on the floor anytime you can to be available physically for your baby.
- Respond to crying.
- Be intention about phone time when you’re with your baby.
- Expect the best of your child.
- Be empathetic to their big emotions. We all have big emotions, but we’re better at regulating. They’re learning.
- Know what to expect at different levels of development so you can provide just the right amount of challenge.
- Smile at your child from across the room.
- Understand that repetition helps your baby know what to expect. Which elicits calmness.
- Understand that chaos is confusing to your baby.
- Let your baby play on the floor most of the time. Carriers and containers limit movement.
- Make wake-up time, in the morning and throughout the day, snuggle time.
- Understand that you are the apple of your baby’s eye. Everything you do is noted and stored in that little brain.
- Change out toys, wall decor, etc. often to make things interesting. Brains tune in when things are new.
- Use music to set the mood – in the car and at home. Make sure the volume is not too loud for those little ears.
- Give your child a choice any chance you can. This encourages thinking.
- Talk about what you do as you do it. This encourages language development.
- Ask your child questions. This encourages language development.
- Touch your child gently. Often. Physical touch communicates attentiveness.
- Smile at your baby as you change their diaper. Even when it stinks really bad.
- Name emotions for your baby. Help them begin to understand their feelings. This takes a while.
- When you’re talking to someone else, catch your baby’s eye and smile.
- Communicate non-verbally as much as possible. This teaches your baby to read your face.
- Body to body contact releases stress chemicals in your baby’s brain.
- Smile at your baby as you give them a bottle or nurse.
- Give your child attention.
- Cuddle at bedtime and before naps.
- Sing often.
- Monitor stimulation – too little is boring, too much is overwhelming
- Calmly soothe your child when they are distressed. Share your calm rather than adding to the storm.
- Understand that separation from you is stressful for your baby. Tell them you’re leaving and when you’ll be back.
- Let your baby touch everything they can. Talk about what they are touching.
- Look at your child with ‘future’ eyes. Tell them about the wonderful things that will happen in their life.
- Smile at your child when you’re eating a meal together.
- Have lots of conversations with your baby.
- Protect your child. They’re very vulnerable.
- Respond to your baby’s facial expressions.
- Linger during bath time. Baby’s love water. Let her play!
- Go outside often.
- Smile at your baby. (yes, I know this was repeated 8 times)
Because of interactions with you, by the time your baby is 6 months old, they may have already developed 1,000 trillion new connections in their brain.
You make your baby smarter with loving, appropriate interactions.
Here’s wishing you a very loving, very happy Valentine’s Day!
Nurtured Noggins is here to support you in your parenting journey. 😍
Want more parenting tips? 24 One-minute parenting lessons it took a lifetime to learn
Wondering what to do when baby wants to cry instead of play? Check out our post on the reasons newborn babies cry!
Baby getting older? Check out our post on play ideas for 3-6 month olds and 6-9 month olds!