July 28, 2022

Tips for Raising a Smart Baby

Written By: Lexi C

It's every parent's dream to raise intelligent, well-rounded children who will find happiness and success throughout their lives. What can you do to raise a smart baby? The answer -- a lot! Studies show that intelligence is 50% genetic and 50% other factors, like environment. So now that you've (pretty much) mastered the basics of how to care for a newborn, you can start focusing on what you can do to give your child their best start in life.  


What can you do?

Now that you are a new parent, you'll undoubtedly receive a bevy of advice from other parents on how to care for a newborn. And while suggestions vary from practical to absurd - No, Aunt Irene, haven't tried Whisky on her gums for teething.  There is one thing all parents agree on; We all want the best for our children. We want them to be smart, flourish, and lead happy successful lives. The good news is you don't have to have fancy toys or spend exorbitant amounts of money on classes or tutors to raise a smart baby. Your baby just needs quality time with you and other loving adults to foster their exploration of the world around them. Here are some tips for helping your little one reach their full potential.


Make healthy lifestyle choices during pregnancy (and beyond)

Your baby's brain heath begins while they are still in the womb, so make sure you take a good prenatal vitamin and load up foods rich in Omega 3's (which aid in brain development) like fish, walnuts, beans, leafy greens, and chia seeds. Also, make time to exercise! Exercise is an excellent way to release stress anytime, and during pregnancy, exercise releases endorphins (those feel-good chemicals) that aid your baby's brain development. Once your little one is eating solids, continue feeding their brain with nutrient-rich foods, like eggs, greek yogurt, smoothies with greens, and plenty of exercise and fresh air.


Bond With Your Baby

Part of how to care for a newborn is creating opportunities to bond with your baby. Skin-to-skin contact, cuddling, and baby massages are beautiful ways to show your baby affection. A strong bond with your baby increases their sense of security and self-esteem, which fosters cognitive and social development for years to come.


Read. Read. Read.

Reading out loud to your baby not only provides another way for the two of you to bond, it also supports development in the parts of their brain responsible for language and listening skills, builds vocabulary and imagination, and improves cognition.

"Learning, like gardening, is a process, and every child and plant is different. Be your child's gardener."


Talk To Your Baby

Yet another way to bond with your baby! Talk to them! Even if they don't understand what you are saying, talking to your baby provides valuable face time with your little one. Make eye contact, narrate your day, point to things, and describe what you see to help your baby understand the world around them and lay the foundation for language development. Plus, most babies find faces more interesting than toys. Talking to your baby helps them learn to read facial expressions and recognize emotions promoting strong non-verbal communication skills. All of which set your baby up for better teamwork, fewer arguments, and stronger relationships as an adult.


Play!

Children are naturally curious and learn best through play. Fancy gadgets may be helpful in how to care for a newborn, but you don't need any complex toys to build your baby's brain. You can find age-appropriate, simple toys that don't overstimulate or frustrate your child in almost any room of your house! Let them explore a (safe) drawer of pots and pans to see what different sounds they make. Regular old wooden blocks help with math skills like sorting and building. As your child gets a little older, don't forget the importance of unstructured play! Giving your child unstructured playtime (open-ended play with no specific learning objective) encourages creativity, builds problem-solving skills, and offers kiddos a sense of independence.


Establish Healthy Sleep Habits

Getting adequate sleep is a massive factor in cognitive development. Establishing a good bedtime routine, including a regular bedtime, ensures your baby gets the sleep they need and promotes better memory, language skills, and problem-solving abilities. Also, look for cues from your baby if they are disengaging. If your baby is fussy or looking away, they may need some time or a nap to process all that new information! Building that baby brain is hard work, so know when it's time to take a break.


Kindness Counts

Raising an intelligent, successful child isn't tied solely to milestones or achievements. One of the best parts of how to care for a newborn is that you get to be their first teacher. They are learning how to operate in this world by watching YOU! Model kindness in your relationships with your partner and your friends. How you approach conflict in your relationships can help teach your little one how to manage disagreements in the future. When children witness their parents helping those in need and exercising empathy, they learn the value of kindness and healthy relationships. By raising kind children, we help them reach the highest level of success, becoming a positive force of change in the world.


Don't forget to focus on the process not the result

Encouraging a growth mindset in your child is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. By shifting the focus on gaining knowledge through experiences and spending less time worrying about the outcome, we empower our children with the confidence to explore their world. They learn the value of hard work and recognize opportunities for growth when faced with challenging tasks.  

Learning, like gardening, is a process, and every child and plant is different. Be your child's gardener. Observe what your child shows interest in and follow their lead. Once you know what type of plant you are growing you can nurture it properly and watch it take root and flourish. And what could be more rewarding than that?

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