Enhancing the Development of An Infant’s Brain


By Richard Kieninger


We receive many inquiries from parents and other interested parties concerning how one can enhance the development of a baby’s brain. Needless to say, volumes can be written on this topic, and indeed, there are many books on the market that offer a wealth of suggestions for intelli­gence enhancement although they generally underestimate the age at which a child is able to do most things. The following is a presentation of some basic suggestions that do not require a lot of money for the purchase of toys and equipment. What is needed is a loving and interested parent who is willing to devote time to the Ego for whom responsibility has been accepted.


Here are the main points: An infant’s brain, in the first months of life, responds positively to flashing Christmas lights around the crib (for an hour or so per night); while the infant is awake he should have a full view of household activities; and, the infant acquires significant neurological growth from having a brightly colored mobile that responds with sound and/or movement to the child’s kicking. When a child begins crawling and creeping, he should be given a great deal of freedom to explore. Avoid playpens and wheeled baby walkers because they inhibit or bypass the child’s natural drive and essential need to crawl and then creep. This means it is necessary to “child-proof” your house for several years in or­der to relieve yourself and your child of the constant concern and anxiety about things getting soiled or broken. Have nothing around the house that a child should not handle, even though this may include pets and plants since they both can be dangerous. It is wise, also, to re­move or cushion tables with sharp corners. Place many things around the room that the child can investigate. Boxes, cans, lids, towels, rattles, bells, large colored beads, colored paper and bows, unbreakable mirrors, balls, paper towel tubes, and plastic kitchen uten­sils are just some of the items found in the average household. Play with these things with your child and talk to the child fre­quently.


Even though he may not seem to under­stand, take a small baby in your arms when you are riding in a car, are at the grocery store, post office, or the other countless places you go, and point out all the differ­ent things to see and touch. The baby acting whiney and cranky is often just bored, and will respond to these seemingly simple stimuli. Play classical music in your home, sing songs, and if you have musical instru­ments in your household, play them frequently. Have fun with your child! If you are happy, the child benefits tremendously and the home is a warm, healthy, and secure place to be.


Long before a child can speak, he is learning to understand words and associate them with objects. This is the ideal time to teach reading. Print word cards in bold letters, labeling various objects around the house—crib, bed, wall, door, sofa, etc. Point out the word card and say the word. Make a game out of learning to read words, for example, “This is the word ‘table.’ Co put the label on the table.” This can be played several times a day, for perhaps ten to fifteen minutes at a time to maintain interest, or as often as the child desires. As a child becomes familiar with the words, gradually reduce the size of the letters; and when he begins to show interest in books, point out some of these same words as they appear in normal print. It is of­ten said that a one-, two-, or three-year-old child cannot learn to read because he cannot focus his eyes on small objects, but anyone who has been around children soon recognizes that even a one-year-old points out the tiny picture of a mouse in a remote area of a picture that is full of many larger and more prominent objects. They no­tice details that adults disregard.


Stimulate this interest in details by exploring textures (foods, various grits of sandpaper, fabrics, etc.), tastes (fla­vor the child’s food with mild spices and herbs—NOT salt and sugar), smells (pine forests, apples cooking, bacon, etc.) temperatures (obviously not dangerous ex­tremes), sounds (soft, musical, crackly, rattley), densities (heavy, light), size comparisons (big, bigger, biggest), colors, and shapes. From your method of inquiry the child will learn to discover for himself and be sensitive to the things around him.


The suggestions mentioned are all basic things that can occur quite naturally in the course of a day. Frequently, however, these simple stimuli are ignored. The time that is usually spent taking objects from a baby (which just frustrates a child’s curiosity) can be made productive by taking the time, being aware, and being prepared to deal with the child’s natural drives, rather than denying them. All of those things which babies typically do are part of their learning and growing process. You do need to protect a child from dangers such as putting small objects in the mouth, as he goes through the various stages of learning. All the routine and mundane activities of the day can be enhances into a love-engendering learning experience for you and your child if you take the time to allow the child to experience the things around him.




Neurological Growth Opportunities for Infants