Shaping Your Baby's Mind

When you are watching your baby grow, it's not just the physical milestones you should focus on, but also the emotional ones. Kate Kelly, Managing Editor of American Baby Magazine examines some of the ways you help shape your baby's mind.

The simple act of responding to your child's cries can help teach them self-control. You feed your baby when he's hungry and change him when he's wet. Over time your baby will learn he can deal with stressful situations. To encourage self-control, don't worry about spoiling your child. Create routines if you day and take a little bit longer to respond to your baby's cries. By six months, your baby will learn she can settle herself down when she is upset.

How your baby focuses and pays attention is formed by early experiences. You can help your baby's attention by making sure he is positioned at what he should be focusing on. And explain things to him so that they make sense. And limit your cell phone use when you are interacting with your baby. Your baby can sense if your attention is elsewhere and tune you out.

Babies gain a sense of control by finding associations between things. To teach your child cause and effect read the same book and play along with them with the drop-it game. But also set limits. You don't have to sit idly by while you child throws food to see what happens next. Be willing to remove your child from the highchair saying something like, "If you're throwing food, you must not be hungry."

And finally, having the right toys for your child to play with can help them learn. Book, touch toys, visual toys, hearing and listening toys and imitation toys are perfect to enhance his senses. But don't provide too many toys. This can be overwhelming for baby. Also, rotate the toys so it also feels like baby is getting a something new.

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by Jenn Eaker