How the environment influences your baby’s cognitive development
Being a mother, you are most attached to your child and you can play a role in providing a better environment which influences the child’s cognitive development.1 Because infants and toddlers learn by interacting with the environment, the space in which your child grows - be it outdoors or indoors - should be motivating and inviting with plenty of materials available to stimulate his/her imagination. In the presence of a stimulatory environment, children are encouraged to explore all the possibilities offered for fun, adventure, challenge and creativity.2
- Visual environment: The ability to have good eye contact and follow moving objects with the eyes, play an important role in the intellectual development of infants.3 Objects that move are able to attract your child’s attention and stimulate interaction.4 Objects such as pictures, large pinecones or mobiles can be hanged for your child to watch them move and reach out to them.4
- Auditory environment: Since babies mostly prefer the sound of the human voice, it is important that you talk to your baby as much as possible. It is also through hearing that infants learn about language.3
Objects such as rattles, musical boxes and toys can enhance the hearing skills and encourage your child’s response to it.3
- Somato sensory environment (Touch): It is important to introduce your babies to the touch of various textures through a variety of fabrics and toys.3
Toys with interesting textures like soft, plush and coarse-headed teddy bears, soft terry cloth and hard wooden blocks serve as helpful stimulants of touch.3
- Integrated environment: An integrated environment provides stimulation through a variety of activities which explore the similar concepts through various meaningful and engaging ways.5
The use of surprise items allow children to discover; books help them learn, identify and name different pictures, while puppets help them act out stories.4
- Andrade SA, Santos DN, Bastos AC, et al., Family environment and child's cognitive development: an epidemiological approach. Rev SaudePublica. 2005;39(4):606-11.
- French G. Children’s early learning and development. National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. 2007. Available from: http://www.ncca.ie/en/Curriculum_and_Assessment/Early_Childhood_and_Primary_Education/Early_Childhood_Education/How_Aistear_was_developed/Research_Papers/Childrens_learning_and_dev.pdf. Accessed on: June 21, 2017.
- Centre for Effective Parenting. Stimulation during the first year of life. Available from: http://parenting-ed.org/handouts/stimulation.pdf. Accessed on: June 21, 2017.
- Guyton G. Using Toys to Support Infant-Toddler Learning and Development. National Association for the Education of Young Children. Available from: https://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/201109/Using%20Toys_Guyton_Online_0911.pdf. Accessed on: June 21, 2017.
- Marbina L, Church A, Taylor C. Integrated teaching and learning approaches. Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework. Available from: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:i2GRu-1R0KoJ:www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/childhood/providers/edcare/evidpaperintegrated.docx+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=in. Accessed on: June 21, 2017.