Early intellectual development

How do we read?  By recognising letters. The basis for this skill is recognition of shapes. And the basis for this skill comes from exposure to a variety of objects and toys.
 
Do you think babies just cry and sleep? That and more. 

In their waking moments, they are busy absorbing their surroundings.

Think they cant understand what you’re saying? 

Think again! Babies sense every emotion in all that you say, they recognise soothing sounds, scolding sounds, playful sounds, stress in your voice etc. 

When do babies start learning? Right from day one! Read on to understand the different areas of development in babies:

The main areas are motor or physical development, language development and cognitive or intellectual development. 

While motor development is given much importance as it is easily observable being a physical development, language development and intellectual development are largely overlooked till there is cause for concern. 
 
Motor Development: refers to the abilities like the following: Raises head and chest when lying on stomach; stretches legs out and kicks when lying on back; uses hands to bring objects to face; uses hands to hold and grasp objects; pushes down on legs when held on firm surface
 
As the baby grows motor development moves to higher level skills that require balance, coordination and focus. 

Usually parents, grandparents and neighbours around are aware of motor milestones and alert parents when they notice a baby not developing at the normal pace.

Language Development: refers to skills using speech and communication. 

Often parents assume that babies cannot understand the language being spoken and do not spend time talking to the baby. 

However you will be surprised to know that babies from infancy stage onwards are very interested in what you have to say, they delight in your stories and they are your perfect sounding board! 

Language development includes cooing and babbling, babbling vowel sounds like ‘aaa’ and ‘ooo’, then consonant sounds like ‘ga gaga’ or ‘ba ba ba’ etc, Reacting with sound to the sound you make as if replying, uses language to communicate, like crying if put down, squealing with delight to see a loved one, or when playing games like peek-a-boo, or making shouts of objection. 

Eg. when a toy is pulled away, combining language sounds with visual and motor development like watching the parent walk across a room, turning the head and making calling sounds, Makes joyful sounds when shown a familiar toy, person or object.

Intellectual or Cognitive Dev­elo­pment: 

Refers to skills that reflect the development of learning, thinking, understanding and associating such as: Noticing detail by staring at fingers, toes, lights, moving objects etc; finding different ways to play with objects such as shaking, banging, pushing rolling etc; figuring out ways to do things such as grasping objects to bring it to the mouth, or pushing bottle or spoon away to stop drinking or eating; pulling off cap and socks; associating people with their faces and voices; showing preference for certain toys, having favourite books etc Activities to stimulate  intellectual development.

Hand held toys: Babies appreciate objects that are brought into their line of vision, which they can hold, shake, bang and explore with their mouth.

Play mobiles: Anything that is hung above, not directly above but which can be viewed at an angle, like small soft toys that sway with the breeze or rotate or play music will fascinate the mind of a baby.

Objects that move slowly and make a gentle sound: Avoid whizzing high speed toys that play loud music or make loud rattling sounds. 

Babies enjoy toys that move slowly, and make soft gentle sounds.

Appropriate books: Babies above three to four months will look intently at a bright patch of colour like the picture of an orange carrot or red apple.

Soft books specially meant for babies are easily available that contain easy-to-see patterns. 

When reading to a baby modulate your voice, sing, make different facial expressions and play peek-a-boo with the pages.

Games: Babies learn very fast that action songs like ‘this little piggy’ and ‘round and round the garden’ end up in tickling and they giggle in anticipation.

They enjoy being held and dancing to music or watching an older sibling dance. Peek-a-boo is another all time favourite that gets them squealing with delight.

Babies are learning every waking minute. Early stimulation gives an edge to the baby, making the baby alert, attentive, interested in surroundings and eager to do different things. 

Children with late language development and difficulty in acquiring reading skills often have a history of poor intellectual stimulation. 

The building blocks to reading ability begin very early in life and not after entering school as is generally thought.

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