Last updated on Jun 21st, 2021 at 11:05 am

Stimulation is important for brain development – of that we are sure.

Healthy development in the early years provides the building blocks for educational achievement, economic productivity, responsible citizenship, lifelong health, strong communities, and successful parenting of the next generation.

The architecture of your baby’s developing brain

The connections (synapses) that are made between brain cells are vital for development. For example a connection in the language part of the brain will result in understanding of speech or in speech itself as illustrated in a video by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University 

One of the most essential experiences in shaping the architecture of the developing brain is “serve and return” interaction between children and significant adults in their lives. Young children naturally reach out for interaction through babbling, facial expressions, and gestures, and adults respond with the same kind of vocalizing and gesturing back at them. This back-and-forth process is fundamental to the wiring of the brain, especially in the earliest years.

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Your baby can only benefit optimally from stimulation when it is balanced, varied and meaningful and occurs at a time when he can best utilise the sensory input

Sense-able stimulation

As important as stimulation is for development; we do not want to over stimulate our babies either. It’s a fine balance that we need to aim for.

Here are a few guidelines on ‘sense-able’ stimulation:

  • Appropriate stimulation at opportune times of the day is beneficial for your baby’s development. Choose a time of day when your baby has been fed and is well rested. This may possibly be after the early morning nap. In a content state, your baby will best benefit from stimulation activities.
  • Overstimulation leads to fussiness, especially in young babies and is not beneficial. Watch your baby for signs of fussing and withdrawal and stimulate him only when he is calm and alert. While you are stimulating your baby he may start to show early signs of overstimulation, such as looking away, grizzling, high pitched shrieks and hand sucking. When you notice these subtle signals, stop the stimulation or remove your baby from the stimulus.
  • Don’t over schedule your baby, rushing him from one activity to the next. Choose baby classes with care and thought and schedule them so they don’t interfere with your baby’s sleep times. An overtired baby will not enjoy or benefit from stimulation. As a rule of thumb: babies under three months need no additional stimulation groups, as they are very susceptible to overstimulation. Babies under six months don’t need extra stimulation in the form of a group but moms benefit immensely from meeting other moms in a group and getting ideas for stimulation or massage at home. Between six and twelve months one group a week suffices.
  • Balance calming and stimulatory activities and link them to the time of day. Calm activities are important before sleep times. Keep stimulation for playtime during the day. When your baby shows signs of overstimulation, take him for a walk or put on soft calming music in this way the calming activity will also be beneficial to his development.

Aim for a fine balance when it comes to stimulating your baby

For more information on how to make the informed decision for you and your baby join us at the 2014 Johnson’s Baby Sense Seminar for #baby101.  There’s pretty much nothing that the Johnson’s Baby Sense Seminars doesn’t offer. You can expect au pairs looking after your baby on the day, expert advice covering challenges arising during specific periods of parenting (Tina Otte, Dr Claudia Gray, Ann Richardson and Megan Faure), a fun day with treats, prizes and goodie bags, plus the chance to meet pregnant moms and new parents.

Don’t miss out on this all inclusive #baby101 seminars! Book now online babysense.com/talks-and-workshops or call (021) 671 3245  facebook.com/babysense @BabySense #baby101

Baby Sense Seminars