What is meant by mental development?It's easy to measure your baby's weight and height. But it's not so easy to find out what's happening in your baby's brain.
The parts in your baby's brain that control bodily functions such as breathing, drinking, sleeping and digesting are all already built into the autonomic nervous system: all the functions that ensure its survival. But the parts of his brain that help your child understand the world around him have a lot of development work to do.
Your newborn's brain is not yet able to cope with imagination, thought processes, memory, language and coordination. The process by which your child gradually learns all these skills is called spiritual development.
When does spiritual development begin?Did you relax more often on a particular TV show in the last few weeks of your pregnancy? And could it be that your baby relaxes when it hears the theme tune of this show? If so, it shows you that it could already learn and remember before it was born (Hepper 2007).
When your baby is a few weeks old, it recognizes that it can make things happen. But the ability to remember that it can move things on its own is only gradually developing.
Tie a band to your baby's foot that moves when your baby is kicking his legs. Do not leave your child alone if you make this attempt! There will be more with two months but after a few days it has forgotten what it needs to do to regain this effect. At the age of six, after two weeks, it still knows how the tape makes it flutter (Renee Collier, ). Your baby is now able to recognize the connection between his actions and what follows from them.
But his memory becomes even more complex. It develops the ability to think about something without seeing it or having any connection with it. An example would be if your baby thinks about his crib, even though it's sitting in his car seat right now.
Recalling in this form is rare among babies under six months, but after that you can often observe it doing things to communicate in this way. One of the first actions of this kind is that a baby raises his arms to be hugged.
At about six months, your baby will probably no longer just eat his toys or beat them to the ground, but will realize they can do different things with them.For example, cars can make noises (or your child does them!) And a teddy can cuddle them (Herbert and Pascalis 2007).
Can I help my child with his spiritual development?Most of the spiritual development happens on its own, but you can definitely help your child with it. For the past 100 years, parents have been interested in how learning takes place in their children's brains. This interest and the resulting support has led to children being smarter overall today (Truscott & Frank Flynn JR 1991). It really does matter how you support your child.
From the moment your baby is born, it looks and learns. Your newborn knows your smell and your voice. It loves to look closely at your face. It moves to spoken rhymes and copies lip movements. As you watch your baby closely, you will learn to understand his cues and respond accordingly.
Babies learn best by repeating the same things over and over again. That's why you play simple games with your child. Let it alone try the game and give it enough time to practice it with you again and again.
Age-appropriate toys can also support mental development. But do not overplay your child with toys because it makes them confused and distracted. A confused baby can not concentrate on one thing.
Talk to your child, tell him what you are doing, even if he does not understand it yet. And start reading books to him early. All of this helps in his mental development.
When does my baby make leaps in development?Each baby develops on its own schedule. But we can give some general predictions of what your baby's developmental leaps will be as it grows. Read what you can expect when.
In the first three months
Your baby loves your high voice and may even turn in your direction. If you stick your tongue out, it will probably imitate it.
Your baby does not have a clue that it can make things happen. At six weeks, it does not know that you exist when you are not with him. It also does not understand that you are always the same person when you are with him. Strangers can not be frightened and they enjoy being petted by everyone (Berk 2007, Einon 2006).
From Three to Six Months
Now your child knows it can move things. It knows where something stops or starts, understanding that two toys lying together are not one.
Your baby can now divide things into categories. Show him six pictures of cats and you will see his surprise when the last picture shows a dog!Build three mirrors and sit in front of them with your baby. It will be exciting to see different mirror images of you. At the age of five, it finds it rather irritating, because now it knows that you are unique!
At the age of six months, he will enthusiastically fish for his toy, pick it up, hit the ground with it and put it in his mouth. It examines shape, surface texture, and color to find out what it has in hand. It also recognizes that it had the toy in hand or not (Berk 2007, Einon 2006).
From seven to nine months
Now your child knows his name. Strangers and places could frighten it.
Now your baby can make plans too. It may decide to crawl to his teddy or to find out what is under the table. Now it also uses its toy function more, a drum is beaten and stacked blocks are knocked over.
You may discover that your baby mimics what you did yesterday. If it has learned something new, for example, to throw a rattle out of his bed, it will try in other places. A popular game is also to throw the spoon on the floor when sitting in his high chair. Your baby does not yet understand hide and seek, so it will not look for a toy that you have covered (Berk 2007, Einon 2006).
Nine to 12 months
Your baby will cling to you and cry when you leave. It gets upset because it knows that they exist even when it can not see you. But when it sees itself in the mirror, it does not yet know that it is a reflection of itself.
Now your child makes the first sounds with meaning, they become his first words. His actions are more planned and it is better to anticipate things that will happen (Berk 2007, Einon 2007).
12 to 18 months
With a mix of words and gestures, your toddler shows you what it wants. And it copies the gestures and actions of others, especially yours. It can also be something that you did last week and that it remembers now. Your sweetheart is interested in everything, it opens chest of drawers or cleans with excitement the trash. It is on the mission to conquer the world!
When it encounters a problem, it first tries one solution, then another. If it can not find something, it's systematically looking for it (Berk 2007, Einon 2007).
18 to 24 months
Now, with almost two years, your toddler starts composing words. Sometimes it can already be problems in his head alone and then tackle the solution, instead of finding out everything by the method ""trial and error"". It searches specifically for toys or things that it has left somewhere. It can pretend and can imitate.
Your child can be affectionate and tender, but also dreary and difficult, and unrealistically assess their own abilities. His frustration over it can lead to tantrums. In difficult situations, it will cling to you.
At 18, it does not have a problem with other children playing with their toys, but at the age of two, it will snatch them away. Her sweetheart likes to be with other children, but does not play well with them - unless they are older. It can not yet empathize with others. If a child strikes it, it does not hurt itself - that's why it thinks it does not hurt the battered. If it hits a chair, it will claim that it has been knocked off the chair.
If you paint a spot on your forehead at the age of 18 months and put it in front of a mirror, it will try to wipe away the stain on the surface of the mirror. At 21 months, it knows that it sees its reflection, and will wipe the stain on its forehead. His memory keeps getting better and it notices when you skip a page in a book (Berk 2007, Einon 2007). Your sweetheart is getting really big now!
How do I keep up with my child's development?From the beginning you are your baby's best toy. Bring it to smile, to babble and laugh - that's just right. Keep in mind that it can not be concentrated for long. Too many activities overwhelm your child and it has none of it.
It's not a good idea to spread the entire contents of the toy box. Your child is happiest choosing a toy that suits their age. It is no help to give your baby toys intended for older children. Only age-appropriate toys support your child optimally in its development.
Good is a mix of wild and quiet games, so your child can relax in between. Let it decide for yourself when it is enough. If it loses interest in a game or toy, it's time for a break. Sometimes your baby needs time and dedication to make a difference. Let it try on its own before you help it, but intervene before it loses interest.
Watch your child carefully and you will realize what it takes to be motivated to learn. If you think ""this will please my baby,"" then you are in the right place. You are the expert for your baby!
What do I do if my baby does not develop as fast as it should?All babies are different and develop at their own pace. If your baby was a premature baby, it probably will not develop as quickly as a baby born around the birth date. It may even take a few years for it to catch up.
There may be some delays if your baby is not feeling well.Stay patient and trust that your baby will reach all of his milestones if you give him enough time.
On average, babies can sit alone for seven months At nine months, that's already 90 percent of all babies. If your baby is still unable to sit at the age of 10 months, talk to your pediatrician.
When your baby is 13 months old, it can probably speak ten specific sounds or words. At 18 months, that's about 50 words. But again: all babies develop differently. If you feel that your child does not understand a lot of words, talk to your pediatrician. Maybe he / she suggests a hearing test.
Do not overstimulate your baby. Otherwise it will perhaps withdraw into itself if it becomes too much for it. Keep the games simple and play with a toy at the time.
Sit on the floor with your child and look him in the eye when talking to him. Give him time and encouragement. But always remember that your child also has to do things alone. The best lessons are those in which it has learned something on its own.
SourcesBerk L. 2007. Child Development. Harlow: Allyn & Bacon
Einon D. 2006. The Baby Development Test . London: Vermillion
Hepper P. 2007. Prenatal development. In: Slater A, Lewis M. eds. Introduction to Infant Development 2nd ed. Oxford. Oxford University Press
Herbert JS and Pascalis O. 2007. Memory Development. In: Slater A, Lewis M. eds. Oxford University Press Renee Collier C. . The Development of Infant Memory.
Current Directions in Psychological Science 8 (3): 80-85 Truscott & Frank Flynn JR 1991
Massive IQ gains in 14 nations. What IQ tests really measure. Psychological Bulletin 101: 171-191 Show sources Hide sources