The first six weeks of life are a critical learning period for your baby in which you should be actively engaged. Your role as teacher starts at your baby’s birth and continues for many years; it’s your job to make his world an interesting and exciting place in which he can grow and learn.
I firmly believe that the most important teacher in a baby’s life is the person who most consistently looks after his health and well-being-ideally, this is you. From a very early age, your baby will recognize you, first by smell and sound, and enjoy a unique bond with you. That means you are best equipped to teach him about his world for even as adults we learn best from people with whom we feel comfortable or have rapport. Your partner likewise has an important role to play. He should form a close and loving relationship with your baby as early as possible so that he becomes equally involved in teaching. Look for every opportunity to share in your baby’s progress; much of his early development will be dependent on a secure and caring environment, so make sure you give him lots of attention.
PROVIDING THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT: Although very young babies enjoy a fairly predictable environment, it is still possible to provide stimulation so he can experience many sensations at a time when he’s dependent on his senses alone for learning. Do so by surrounding your baby in the first six months with a variety sounds, smells, sights, and textures. In the early months, your baby cannot interact with his surroundings the way he will when he learns to move and speak. His intellectual and emotional development, therefore, will be improved only through the different experiences you introduce to him.
When your child begins to play and walk, pay attention to the way he uses his toys. Make his playthings appealing by arranging them imaginatively and, rather than buying your child new toys all the time, encourage him to interact with existing toys in different ways- for example, by showing him how to use a cardboard box as a car or a boat. Children don’t always need store- bought toys to encourage them to play. Often your child will get stimulation from improvised toys: a tent made out of sheets, for instance, a balancing board, or a tunnel made from blankets and chairs, all provide the backdrop for imaginative play.
In practical terms, the area in which your child plays should be safe, with potential hazards removed so that he cannot hurt himself, or break or damage anything. Sandboxes in the yard are ideal (but must be covered to prevent fouling by animals), or a corner of a room can be set aside specifically as a play area.