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Parents know instinctively that the early years are the foundation for their child's future learning.
This time is crucial for developing the most important tool children need to reach their full potential: the brain. In fact 75% of brain development happens in the first few years. The market is awash with toys to help infants learn new skills, but there's no need to spend a fortune on these products, says child development expert and mother of three, Dr Carol Cooper. Says Dr Cooper 'There are many early influences that can have a profound effect on a child's success in later life. Parents just need to remember a few very simple golden rules to ensure that their baby gets the best head start in life.'
1. All infants are eager to learn. Give your child simple activities and toys that involve building - such as stickle bricks or building blocks - to develop creativity in the brain, and to help your child grasp the basic concepts of maths and physics
2. Good nutrition is essential: Omega-3 provides natural building blocks for brain development. Brain cells are made up of DHA - an Omega-3 fatty acid, which we need to ensure is regularly supplied through the diet. Omega-3 is present in breast and most formula milk, so once your child begins to eat solid food it is a good idea to safeguard their intake with a supplement.
3. Use touch often. This is a vital sense especially for the young. Infants have a huge number of sensory receptors, and touch is the first tool they use to learn about the world. Touch also provides the security that all infants need to develop and learn. And it shows your love. Your loving relationship with your child forms the model for all your baby's future interactions and relationships. Give plenty of praise and positive feedback, to provide the basis of a secure environment in which your child can learn and make the most of their potential
4. Infants have good hearing from birth and babies adore music. Go ahead and sing your heart out. Singing will stimulate your baby's brain and help set the foundation for language skills. Learning the rhythm of music is also linked to good mathematics skills later on in life
5. Make your child laugh. You can help your child develop a sense of humour by trying out games like 'This little piggy'. Unlike adults, babies love it when you tell a joke over and over and this helps them learn to pay attention, and to develop their memory.
Haliborange has a great new product - Omega-3 for Infants, which you can add to your baby's food once a day. It's made from plant rather than fish oil, so it's acceptable to a baby's delicate taste buds.
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