Newborn brain development is surely on the mind of all new parents. We all want to raise our kids strong, healthy, happy and smart. So where do we start? There are lots of products and books targeted at parents, each claiming to be the next best thing to aide in their babies development. While some toys, or books, may be very beneficial and helpful, others are simply using marketing and fear based motivation to take advantage of nervous new parents and make sales. Teaching your baby and helping them develop their brains can be easy, fun, and free, with a little creativity.
When a baby is born, their brain is formed but the only part that is actually developed is the brain stem! That means your baby can perform their basic functions, eating, pooping, sleeping, rooting, the rest comes with time. But once that little bundle of joy is born, the synapses (or the pathways and connections between neurons in the brain) are forming at 2-3 million synapses per second! Its important that we as parents do what we can to foster good brain power, and we can do that by engaging their senses in age-appropriate ways. Stimulating your baby visually, is a great first step. A baby who has been properly visually stimulated, will remain engaged with their environment for eight times as long. That’s more time you can spend strengthening their brain by stimulation their other senses. So how do we visually stimulate our babies properly?
As adults, when we look at the world around us, we can detect and observe many shades of colors and varying degrees of lightness and darkness. A newborn however, can only detect the high contrast between light and dark, or black and white. While you may have put a lot of effort into creating a beautiful nursery of varying colors, those cute pastel shades may just blur into one plain shade of grey, at least until they are a bit older.
I myself, went and bought this super cute ocean themed play-mat, consisting of every color you could imagine. I thought that all the bright shapes and colors would be stimulating and exciting for my baby girl. However Charlie won’t be able to see all these colors, especially the blues and purples until 6 to 9 months of age.
Whats a mom to do?
Well I busted out my sharpies and crayola markers and created some high contrast, black and white images. They help to stimulate her visually and keep her interested and engaged. There is supporting evidence to suggest babies most enjoy the shape of circles. They are easy to follow with their eyes and remind them of the shape and contrast of colour of their mothers nipples to their breasts. I got creative and made some drawings of cute animals and basic patterns.
The results were instantly noticeable. I used the cards in her play mat, her swing and in her car seat, and she loves them! She stares and examines each new image and it keeps her interested and engaged; sometimes for 20 minutes (which is a big deal for a mom who needs to wash some dishes and fold a bit of laundry!). It gives baby the mental boost she needs and gives mom a moment to get some things done.
You can use these high contrast flash cards anywhere your baby hangs out. Use a little tape or hole-punch and string to secure them as you need. Whenever I have to put her down for a bit, I grab a couple cards and put them in view. Here’s how they look from Charlie’s point of view in her playpen.
Let me know what you guys think in the comments section. Have you tried this? Let me know how well it worked for you and share your own designs with me!
Would you guys like if I uploaded free flashcard printables like the ones I’ve made here? Let me know!