Track your baby’s milestones — Mental skills

Peek into how your kewpie’s mind works and learn how to supercharge her brain power

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From the start, bubba’s brain is constantly abuzz just trying to make sense of the world around her. After all, this is the major organ that’s in charge of her physical coordination, language development, memory and perception! So, it’s vital for you to pay attention to the growth of her brain, since it will help her get ahead!

0 to 6 months

* Your newborn is busy looking around and learning from the moment she comes into the world. She recognises your smell and voice, and studies your face intently. Pay lots of attention to your little bundle and learn when to respond to her cues.

* By 4 months, your baby is starting to remember sounds — she’ll babble, try different ones and even copy your lip movements to get ready to speak.

* Use “parentese” — speaking with musical up-and-down tones and stretching out your vowels — to help her develop an understanding of speech and language production. For example, say “Whoose a preeety baybeee?”

* During this period, your sweetie is able to see primary colours like red, blue and green, though she may find it tough to make out different shades as the nerves in her eyes most sensitive to colour are still maturing.

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6 to 12 months

* Your mini-me can now visually follow an object (such as a rattle). When it falls out of his hands, he’ll understand that he is separate from the things around him, as well as other people. Playing peekaboo will help him realise that objects and people still exist even when they can’t see them.

* It’s never too early to boost your little one’s language development, though he may be too young to start using words. Describing things — such as “green grass” or “brown trees” — will expand his vocabulary.

* Your baby will start to understand shapes once he is able to pick up objects. He’ll gradually start to recognise outlines and forms and be able to differentiate them by first pointing at them, then sorting and separating different ones.

* Babies learn by doing things repeatedly. So singing repetitive rhymes such as This Little Piggy, or Round and Round the Garden, will teach him words and music, also hone his memory.

Learn what milestones your year-old toddler will be expected to meet… Next!

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12 to 18 months

* Stimulate your peewee’s rapidly developing brain by offering age-appropriate developmental toys like musical instruments and shape sorters, which can teach grouping and sorting.

* On a mission to discover the world, your curious cherub will open cupboards and empty tissue boxes. If he comes across an obstacle, he’ll try to overcome it through trial and error.

* Show your approval after your tot has mastered a task. Clap and offer encouragement to motivate him to solve new problems and develop new brain skills.

* Your kewpie’s ability to point at objects — usually by 14 months — is a key sign that his brain is developing healthily. Pointing is your offspring’s way of saying “give me” or “show me”. It also shows that he recognises that you’re a different person from him.

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18+ months

* Talk directly to your tyke as much as possible to expose her to social interactions. Play a recognition game like “Where’s the car?” or place three objects in front of her and say, “Give me the…”

* Expose your little Einstein to tactile play in the water or sand pit to spark her creativity and imagination, and boost her logical thinking and problem-solving skills. Playing with a large piece of cardboard also does the trick!

* Feed your mini-maven’s mind, literally, with brain-boosting foods such as egg yolk, beans, broccoli, yoghurt, tofu, salmon, scallops, walnuts, whole-grain bread, pasta and cereal. Tempt her at breakfast with blueberry pancakes.

* For her to grow into a well-adjusted individual, don’t just play an active role in your child’s learning process — turn up the wattage on your tot’s brain powers by being a loving parent.

Photos: iStock

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