Infant Brains and Bodies Need Movement Too!

It is certain that the area of the brain which controls learning is the same area of the brain that controls movement and that movement affects the brain’s ability to learn. It is also well known that much of the brain’s structuring is completed by the age of 4. This is why it is important to stimulate both the brain and the body of the infant, toddler and preschooler.

Brain stimulation can be easily done by immersing your baby in various situations, talking to him about what is going on around him, reading to her, singing songs especially learning songs (ABC’s, days of the week…), and making sure s/he gets plenty of time to move.

Infants and toddlers log many hours now-a-days in the car, in the infant seat, in the front/back carrier, etc. Movement is essential at this stage of life for brain development; it is not yet important for the sake of keeping off unwanted pounds!

How can you incorporate movement into your baby’s life? Here are some suggestions:

*Rock her while reading a story or singing a song.

*Get him out of the infant seat, spread out a blanket and a few toys and let him kick, push, pull, reach, grab, scoot, turn, etc. Tummy Time is very important too!

*Put her facing you on your lap, and “bicycle her legs.” This not only helps with gas, but gets her moving. Sing a song, make a sound pattern, count while doing it. Do it again moving her arms this time.

*Sit him on your lap facing out, bounce your legs gently. Talk, sing to him while doing this.

*Teach waving hello and good-bye.

*Teach sign language to your baby.

*Move her arms or legs across the mid-line of the body to touch the opposite side of her body. Crossing the mid-line helps with reading readiness in the development of the brain.

*Hold something out in front of her so she can reach for it. Change items to retain interest.

*If he’s old enough, hold him up on his feet and gently bounce or “walk” around a bit.

*When he can sit on his own (or safely propped up), stick him in front of the “Tupperware” cabinet while you work in the kitchen. There he can reach and lean into the cabinet and grab cool things.

*When she’s ready and able to cruise, climb, crawl, scoot, walk…Let her!

more activity suggestions

By Jenny Goebel