Children's Hospital Colorado

Ways to Connect with Your Baby

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.

Positive parenting

No matter what advertisements and your child’s pleading tells you, kids don’t need a lot of stuff to be happy and healthy. Harley Rotbart, MD, author of No Regrets Parenting, explains what children really need and how parents can provide it to them.

Discipline and rewards

From handling temper tantrums to doling out praise, Ayelet Talmi, MD, explains what’s going on with a toddler’s mind and emotions, and how you can remain positive and confident throughout.

Babies 101

New parents may feel overwhelmed by wanting to keep their baby safe and happy during a time that is often fraught with the unpredictable and the unknown. Learn some baby basics to build your confidence.

Toddlers 101

It can be a joy to watch a baby grow into a toddler, and they learn to walk, reach, eat and talk on their own, but having a moving, growing child can bring a whole new set of questions for parents. Learn some tips on how to tame your toddler.


Keeping kids safe is our mission at Children’s Colorado; we extend that reason-for-being by empowering parents, caregivers and the community to create a safe environment for kids, help prevent issues before they happen, and take swift action if a problem arises. From how to calm a crying baby and prevent shaken baby syndrome to seasonal sun care tips, learn what you can do about safety.