Did you know that much of your child’s learning and development depends on your relationship with them?
It’s never too early to start building that relationship.
Babies’ learning starts in pregnancy
Connecting with your baby is good for their development so take time to focus on them. When your baby kicks you can respond by stroking your stomach and talking to them.
A healthy lifestyle makes a difference to baby’s development and mum’s health so think about your diet and exercise.
It is also important that mums do not experience very high levels of stress during pregnancy for their own health and the future health of their baby.
If you are concerned about your diet, fitness or stress levels while you’re pregnant, talk to your midwife or health visitor.
Unborn babies can hear the world around them
From around 20 weeks a baby can recognise different voices while in the womb. Talking and singing to your baby helps them to recognise the voices of the important people in their lives and can be soothing to them.
Did you know that unborn babies yawn, exercise, sleep, hiccup, suck their thumb and swallow?
Enjoying and feeling close to your baby helps their development
Babies who are handled more in the earliest months of their lives are generally happier, less fussy toddlers as they feel more confident that you are there for them.
Holding your baby when they are crying helps them to feel loved and secure. Cuddling and keeping them close means they will cry less and it is good for their brain development
Much of a child’s brain development happens in the first few years after birth.
A baby is born with billions of brain cells and these quickly start to make connections – hundreds per second – as the baby interacts with the world.
Babies love to look at faces and enjoy mimicking interactions even at a few days old.
Take time to tune into your baby and enjoy taking turns with babbling conversations, copying your baby’s sounds and always giving them good eye contact. This really develops their ability to communicate and their social skills.
You can also support your baby’s brain development by holding your baby close, responding to their needs and breastfeeding them.
Babies learn to understand their needs and how to meet them through the care they receive from you
It can be overwhelming at times to hear your baby’s distress so make sure you have support from others.
Sometimes it’s hard to work out what your baby needs and often they just need comfort and to feel close to you.
Everyday interactions are teaching your baby about themselves, relationships and the world around them. This helps them learn how to start doing things for themselves.
You don’t need to be a perfect parent to be a good enough parent. If you are feeling overwhelmed ask for support.
What to Expect When – guide to early learning
Guidance to your child's learning and development in the early years foundation stage. After each age band there are some ideas and tips on how you can help your child's learning and development. Page 34 details where you can find out more.
Building Brains – look, say, sing and play