Eighty-five percent of brain development occurs during the first three years of life. The best thing you can do to help your baby’s brain grow is easy… TALK!
Your words are food for your baby’s brain. The more words a child hears in the first three years of life, the stronger the connections in his brain will be. Experts call it plasticity —it means that your baby’s brain will learn more, more easily in these years than at any other time in his life.
How Can You Talk More?
- Talk all the time. Talk to your baby from the day you bring her home. Every word you say makes a connection in her brain. The more connections her brain builds, the smarter she will be.
- Keep your ears open. When your baby coos or makes his first sounds, it’s his way of trying to answer you. Don’t miss those moments. Look him in the eye and answer back. When you do that, you are telling his brain to try again and make another word.
- Sing and talk together. Make the things you do every day into times to learn. When you feed or change or bathe your baby, talk about what you’re doing. Name the parts of his body. Count his fingers and toes.
- Make up silly songs about what you’re doing. Rhyming words and music help growing brains recognize patterns and sounds.
- No screens. A smartphone or a tablet or video is not a substitute for a human voice talking to a baby. Doctors say children under 18 months should have no screen time.
- Answer with a sentence. Make the sentence fragments your baby starts to say into full sentences to help her learn more words. When your child says “Uppie, uppie,” answer with, “Do you want daddy to pick you up? Now you are up so high, what can you see?”
About Early Learning City
Early Learning City is a new TriHealth project created in an effort to try to narrow the achievement gap by encouraging verbal communication skill development with new moms. Early verbal communication has been shown to be determinant of future success in school and correlates to high school graduation rates.
Each new mom who delivers her little one at a TriHealth hospital will receive a Brain Bag, filled with valuable learning tools and resources from Early Learning City. TriHealth Pediatrics providers will also incorporate Early Learning City communication in their touchpoints during those first years of life. TriHealth Physicians continue as partners in helping every child cared for to have strong beginnings, starting with strong communication.
TriHealth is here to help people, and we hope you will put these tools to good use. Please know this gift has been sponsored through grants by the following TriHealth funding partners:
- Ed and Joann Hubert Family Foundation
- Bethesda Foundation
- Good Samaritan Foundation
- McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital Foundation