Skip to content

    Health & Baby

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Making Baby Genius

    No More Mozart?
    By
    WebMD Feature
    Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD

    Oct. 10, 2001 -- Want to boost your baby's brainpower? When preschool interviews loomed for my toddler twins, I got to thinking about that "Mozart for Babies" CD. We'd played it twice and abandoned it when it got on everyone's nerves. The "Learn Your Colors" flash cards met a similar fate: The kids simply scattered them on the floor.

    But with academic competition right around the corner, I wondered now if we'd revved up our babies' brainpower enough. Had we missed learning opportunities during the much-talked-about birth-to-3 age period?

    New research has given parents a flood of information on how the brains of infants, babies, and toddlers develop, and the marketplace has responded with a slew of products that promise to give your child a leading edge. But this information seems only to have added to the confusion about how to best stimulate young children intellectually.

    A Window for Learning

    Thanks to science, we know that the auditory cortex -- the part of the brain that processes sound -- develops early, which is why it's easier to learn music and foreign languages before age 12. But what's the best way to teach young children music and language? Should I be waving Spanish flash cards at my toddlers?

    Not at all, says noted child psychiatrist Stanley Greenspan, MD, co-author, with T. Berry Brazelton, MD, of The Irreducible Needs of Children. Instead of worrying about filling your baby's brain with information, concentrate on building a nurturing relationship, he says. Crucial early childhood learning -- everything from social skills and emotions to how to count to 10 -- occurs in the context of the parent-child relationship.

    "What we've learned from new brain research is that kids need a lot more interaction than we thought before," Greenspan tells WebMD. "Flash cards are not very good. Anything that is memory-based is not very good. Things that are learned by doing and interacting are better."

    So, being a sensitive, involved parent is more important for a child's development than scheduling vocabulary lessons. This was reassuring news, as far as I was concerned. The idea that learning takes place in the context of relationships made sense, too. When I played Spanish language tapes in the car, hoping the kids would pick up some phrases, they just sat in their car seats staring into space. But when their adored baby-sitter spoke to them in Spanish as she playfully changed their clothes, the kids laughed and smiled and seemed to be soaking up every word.

    1 | 2 | 3

    Baby's First Year Newsletter

    Because every week matters, get expert advice and facts on what to expect in your baby's first year.

    Today on WebMD

    mother on phone holding baby
    When you should call 911.
    parents and baby
    Unexpected ways your life will change.
     
    baby acne
    What’s normal – and what’s not.
    baby asleep on moms shoulder
    Help your baby get the sleep he needs.
     

    mother holding baby at night
    ARTICLE
    mother with sick child
    QUIZ
     
    Chinese mother breast feeding newborn baby girl
    SLIDESHOW
    Track Your Babys Vaccines
    TOOL
     
    Baby Napping 10 Dos And Donts
    Slideshow
    Mother with her baby boy
    Article
     
    baby in crib
    Slideshow
    baby gear slideshow
    Slideshow