The first years of life are a critical period for brain development. At this time, the brain is at its most malleable, which presents a time of both great opportunity and vulnerability for a baby. Social interactions during this period are essential for a child’s language development. That’s why it’s important for parents to understand the vital role they play in their little one’s learning success.
Babies start to learn about language even before they begin to speak. When they cry or babble, and receive a caring response from an adult, they are forming and strengthening neural connections related to communication and social skills. These interactions are known as “serve and return” interactions, and are critical for development. Interactive relationships between parents and their kids are not only expected, but are also essential to avoid developmental delays or a negative impact on their future well-being. The quality of the child’s environment and the availability of enriching experiences early on will be critical in determining the strength of her future brain architecture.
I met up with Cristy and Samantha, two of Kinedu’s Lead Content Creators and Resident Psychologists, to chat about Kinedu Tracks, a premium new feature that they’ve been working on. Keep reading to find out more about this awesome new feature that’s coming in the fall.
E: So, what exactly is Kinedu Tracks?
C: Tracks is a new program we’re currently working on that works to develop a specific skill such as sitting, standing, walking. Unlike a Kinedugram, that works to boost development holistically, Tracks are composed of activities that work towards one specific goal.
Visual development is a sub-domain of the Physical Developmental Area!
Your baby was born with a 20/400 vision –or the equivalent of being legally blind. But not to worry, your baby’s vision will gradually improve. His vision will actually be one of his main tools for learning by taking in all sorts of information about the world around him. Problems with eyesight can cause developmental delays, so make sure your doctor checks your baby’s progress at every visit.
While he can only see out of the periphery in the first few days after birth, your newborn’s not-that-great vision actually serves to protect him from overstimulation. At one month, he will only be able to focus on objects less than 12 inches away! This is about how far the face of the person holding him is, which is mainly what he’ll be interested in anyway. So give him tons of face time, and watch him smile every time he catches a glimpse of your eyes! It is also normal for a baby’s eyes to be crossed the first two months, but eye movements should be coordinated by month three.
We, as a society, have learned a great deal about the science behind the early years of development. We’ve put much energy and brilliant minds behind this research, but have not yet perfected a way of getting all of this knowledge out to moms and dads who just want what is best for their kids.
This is how Kinedu was born. Kinedu strives to bring the best of what we now know about early development and make this knowledge easy to access and apply for new parents. Research points to the first years as the most important in a child’s development, and we hope to make it easier for parents to not only come up with activities to carry out with their young child, but also make sure that these activities are positively contributing to the child’s brain architecture – actively being built in these early years. Good parenting, especially that which is based on ‘serve-and-return’ interactions, can create a buffer against stressful circumstances that would otherwise derail the proper wiring of the brain, and ensure the creation of the right circuitry. Good parenting can not only buffer, but also create strong brain architecture, which serves as the basis for better health, academic, and social outcomes in children.
This article discusses the development of your baby’s sense of hearing, a sub-domain of the Physical developmental area!
Your baby was born with an excellent sense of hearing, almost as good as an adult’s. He has actually been eavesdropping on your conversations since his 20th week in the womb! So by the time he is born, not only can your baby hear your voice clearly, but he can differentiate between several tones you use, even if he can’t quite understand what you are saying yet. All that practice listening to your conversations has paid off!
Hearing will be important in the development of linguistic, social, and cognitive skills, so checking your baby’s ears before leaving the hospital is recommended. If you don’t get the chance, look for the Moro reflex by startling him with a loud or unexpected noise before the two-month mark, because that’s when the reflex disappears.
When we launched in mid-2013, we only had activities for babies 0-12 months old. Only a year later, we released the 246 activities for toddlers 13-24 months old!
Our team has been working hard on creating more activities that are both fun and educational for your little ones (and yourself)! These will be in the form of additional activities for years 0-2. Expect a seasonal flair – these will be the first ‘themed’ Kinedu activities!
We’ll keep you posted on release dates so that you have plenty of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holiday activities at hand.
As usual, happy playing!
Motor development is a sub-domain of the Physical Developmental area. Look out for the rest of the area’s articles!
Motor skills, like everything else, are learned and practice is key. In order to develop her motor skills, your baby needs opportunities to strengthen her muscles and coordinate her actions. In her first few months, this will come down to getting enough “tummy-time”, which will strengthen the upper body muscles. When lying on her back, your baby may start lifting her head momentarily and turn her head from side to side. Test her grasp reflex –you can place your finger in her hand, she’ll automatically curl her fingers around it!