Getting Ready for Baby: What You Didn’t Think About
Chicago – In the final few months before a new baby arrives, parents stock up on diapers, check out the best pediatricians and pick the perfect crib. But with all those errands to run, many parents don't stop to think about the best way to give their infant the optimal start on a lifelong path to learning.
"Nurturing a newborn is a three-fold endeavor," says VTech Advisory Council member Dr. Lise Eliot, Associate Professor at Rosalind Franklin University and Infant Development Expert. "Fostering physical and emotional development is second nature to most parents, but research has shown that learning begins even before a baby is born, so it's important that parents create 'teachable moments' as early as possible."
VTech's Advisory Council is dedicated to providing expert knowledge and answers to parents on how children learn and develop. Dr. Eliot and VTech have put together some fresh tips for helping moms maximize learning opportunities for their newborns:
Parents Play a Key Role
For babies, parental interaction is their whole world, so moms and dads play a pivotal role in influencing a child's cognitive, language, motor and social-emotional development. Through repeated positive experiences, parents and other loving family members can have a lasting impact on their child's brain development.
Language and Sound
Language development opportunities are critical, especially in the first few years. Engage your baby in face-to-face interaction so he can hear spoken language, listen to words read aloud, and practice associating objects with words. Music is also a great way to help babies learn language, presenting new words in a fun and memorable context. Singing to your baby provides this experience without undue stress or overstimulation.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
Don't forget about your child's physical development, which is crucial to her ability to learn (they say you have to crawl before you walk for good reason – crawling actually stimulates cognitive development!). From the third month of life onward, a baby's limb movement increases significantly as she begins to crawl, stand and then walk, so make sure she has a safe place to move and age-appropriate toys to grasp, push and pull.
Quality and Quiet Play time
"While toys can't completely replace the important one-on-one interaction between a parent and baby, it's important to teach babies how to self-soothe. VTech's infant line offers more fun and more learning to help babies stay engaged and stimulated even when mom or dad is busy. Knowing that helps parents a lot," adds Dr. Eliot.
VTech and Dr. Eliot recommend the following toys that maximize learning opportunities for infants while providing more peace of mind for moms. All items are available now at VTechKids.com and major toy retailers such as Toys 'R Us, Wal-Mart and Target:
Peek at Me Bunny™
This adorable soft plush bunny feels all cuddly and warm when baby holds it and also includes fun learning surprises! Peek at Me Bunny has sensors on its body for interactive touch and hugging play, as well as learning keys on its hands and feet.
Mom can switch bunny to Day or Night mode for active or sleepy-time play. A giant yellow star on the bunny's tummy plays songs and glows as a soothing night light.
Peek at Me Bunny has age-appropriate learning, including peek-a-boo play (six months), learning body parts (12 months) and emotional play (24 months) so it will grow with your child and provides great value to mom.
6 - 36 months
Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker™
With a barnyard of friends to cheer baby on, your little one will love learning to walk using the Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker.
Start her out with the easy-to-remove play panel for floor play or fun on-the-run. Then step it up with the fun-to-maneuver walker. The Learning Walker has a medley of fun: three spinning flowers, five piano keys, colorful rollers, three light-up shape sorters and a telephone handset.
And, the Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker keeps baby on track teaching shapes, colors, animals, music and more!
9 - 36 months
Baby's Learning Laptop™
Your child will be 'wired for learning' with Baby's Learning Laptop! The colorful keyboard interacts with a bright light-up screen to teach shapes, common objects and feelings.
Three modes of play, a light-up screen and entertaining sound effects and music will keep kids engaged and learning, and the movable mouse is perfectly sized for little hands.
And moms will love that there's a volume control switch for "quiet time" play.
6 - 36 months
VTech, the award-winning creator of the Electronic Learning Products (ELP) category, is a global leader in designing age-appropriate learning products. Since 1980, VTech has been developing high-quality, innovative infant and toddler educational products that enrich children's development through fun and smart play.
VTech Electronics North America, LLC is based in Arlington Heights, Ill. VTech is headquartered in Hong Kong and is the world's largest manufacturer of cordless telephones and provides highly sought-after contract manufacturing services, with distribution throughout North America, Europe and Asia.