Babies observe, learn and grow every time they interact with others. Their brains have more potential for development now than at any other time in their lives. Caregivers can nurture that development by connecting with their child in little ways, every day. By building your relationship with your child, you are building their brain’s foundation.
There are thousands of ways we can connect with babies every day. Whether it’s taking turns cooing, playing peek-a-boo or touching her toes, every interaction makes a difference.
Usually we focus on the physical needs of a baby – feeding them, changing them, making sure they are warm enough, for example – but we might not all be aware of how much little connections mean for a baby’s development. Nurturing, consistent and safe relationships with parents give babies opportunities to learn about their world. These relationships and interactions build a baby’s brain.
A baby’s brain is more active and full of possibility now than at any other point in their life. When you talk, play, smile, touch, care for, cuddle and read to your baby, you are helping to make little connections that make a big difference in how your baby’s brain develops.
See a few of the 1,000 ways to care
Serve and return
Even if a baby doesn’t say words to you, they are reaching out to communicate when they make noise, when they look at you, when they move their bodies, when they get upset. Babies are born ready to engage when adults interact with them and respond to their needs. We call this “serve and return.”
Think about it like a tennis game: your child “serves” you the ball by cooing or smiling at you, for example, and you “return” their “serve” by cooing or smiling back at them. Every time this serve-and-return interaction happens, it builds and strengthens connections in your child’s brain.
When you make these connections each day, over and over again, your baby’s brain changes for life. Little connections make a big difference in how your baby’s brain grows and develops.
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Discipline and rewards
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