Did you know that 90% of your child’s brain develops by the time they are six years old? This means that a lot of who your baby will be in the future is molded in these early years. The foundation of their intellectual capabilities, how they handle emotions, how they relate to others, their abilities to communicate, and many other skills they will need throughout their lives is laid before they start school. As a parent or caregiver, there are many little things you could do every day to help your baby’s brain develop to its best potential so your child has the best chance of making it in life.

Here are six simple things you could do to help your baby’s brain development:

  1. Play together

As some say, play is the work of children. Playing is crucial for your baby’s physical, social, emotional, communication and intellectual development. Get down on the ground with them, it’s also an easy way to bond.

  1. Breastfeed if you can

Breast milk is not only good for your baby’s health, but it also helps boost their brain development with some studies saying it could even help improve levels of intelligence later in life. The World Health Organisation recommends breast milk for at least one year; the first six months exclusively breastmilk and adding solids thereafter.

  1. Sing together

This is a fun way for both you and your baby to bond and help them learn different sounds, which is essential for their ability to communicate.

4. Talk to your baby

Don’t wait for your baby to start talking before you talk to them. From the beginning while they are still making gurgling and cooing sounds respond by talking back. You will help the part of their brain responsible for language and communications to develop quickly. When you’re feeding them, name the food, name the objects around them.

5. Read together 

Reading to your baby helps them build listening, memory and vocabulary. Read picture books for them, pay attention to what they find interesting and talk about that. Let them interact with what you’re saying and what they are seeing.

6. Explore and get messy

Encourage your baby’s natural curiosity, they learn from trying to see how things work, from tasting and touching, from asking questions. Let them play with different textures around the house: water, flour, wooden spoons and pots to make music. When they ask questions, answer them, don’t dismiss them. Just remember to make sure that they are safe while exploring.

This article was written by Seriti Institute as part of their aRe Bapaleng Programme. For more resources on Early Childhood Development click here: