Find out the many ways in which you can bring out the Einstein in your baby even before he is born!
Intelligence is a gift all parents wish for their children. And why not? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that smart kids grow up to be smart adults, and we all know that intelligence will take a person very far in life.
We're not just talking about the kind of intelligence associated with books and learning (as important as it is). A child with true intelligence will grow up to be an adult who is not just academically clever, but is also emotionally in-tune with others (i.e., has a high Emotional Quotient or EQ).
Such a child will also be street-smart and know how to handle a variety of real-world situations with ease and elegance. This kind of true intelligence can be nurtured while you are still pregnant and through baby's infant and toddler years, with experts believing the first few years of a child's life are crucial for learning.
We give you 50 ways of stimulating your baby's smartness -- starting even before baby is born!
In the womb
1. Exercise: Research shows that appropriate maternal exercise* has the ability to stimulate cognitive growth in your developing baby.
*Always seek medical advice before starting exercise while pregnant.
2. Omega-3 fatty acids: Mums-to-be, eat plenty of foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids and help your little angel's brain grow well. Some of the delicious options you have are spinach, pink salmon (or other fatty fish), flaxseeds, walnuts and fish roe.
3. Communication: Pregnant mums just love talking to their little baby. And while it's beyond cute when your little one actually responds to your voice with tiny kicks, at the same time, know that you are stimulating their emotions. A high Emotional Quotient (EQ) is as important as a high IQ for your child to shine in every way!
4. A bit of extra nutritional support: Experts claim a good prenatal supplement (on your doctor's advice only) that contains folic acid will help power those 'clever' cells in your baby's brain. One that contains folic acid even better, as this nutrient is essential to preventing certain conditions such as spina bifida, and also helps your baby grow healthy brain cells.
5. Full term: The longer your baby stays in your womb (within the 40 weeks), the better his brain grows. To give you some perspective, at 35 weeks gestation, your little one's brain volume is just two thirds of what it should be by the 39th or 40th week.
Infancy (0 to 6 months)
6. Breastfeed: Experts say there's a link between baby's brain growth and the duration of breastfeeding, so latch your little one on as soon as you can after birth. The physical contact you get with this also helps with bonding and helps your little one develop emotions such as love right from the start.
7. Eye contact: It's true that your newborn's vision is blurry for a few weeks. But that doesn't mean he can't recognize the most important person in his life -- you! By looking deep into your babe's eyes when he is awake, you are stimulating his brain by helping him form early, cherished memories.
8. Singing: Whether it's an age-old lullaby or your favourite rock song, sung in your voice it will be the sweetest song your baby can hear. By recognizing your voice which he has heard and knows from his time in your womb, you baby's very first memories are being re-visited and new ones being made. Also, research suggests that learning the rhythms of songs is linked to learning maths later.
9. Learn movement: Safely string colourful toys over your baby's cot and move them about. In your little one's newborn days, black and white objects will work better as he only sees in black, white and shades of grey (colour vision will develop over the weeks). As his eyes follow the toys, he learns the concepts of near and far and his brain sends his eyes 'coordination' signals.
10. "Motherese": Mums love 'talking' to their little ones and seeing their baby's cute reactions. But by engaging in this kind of talk with your baby, scientists say you are stimulating the part of his brain where language develops, giving your little one a linguistic headstart.
More fascinating ways to make your baby clever on the next page.