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How to Raise a Smart Baby

Confused by the sheer number of smart baby toys, books, and videos? Relax. All your baby really needs to boost brainpower is you.

Smart Babies: What to Do at Every Age and Stage continued...

Age: 4 to 6 months

Help baby hug stuffed animals; stack things (like plastic blocks) and let your baby knock them down; play music with different rhythms; show your baby books with brightly colored pictures; let your baby feel objects with different textures.

Age: 6 to 18 months

Talk and interact face-to-face to increase connections between sounds and words; point to familiar people and objects and repeat names; sing songs with repetitive verses and hand motions; play hide and seek.

Age 18 to 24 months

Play simple recognition games like "spot the yellow car" or " the red flower," or put three objects in front of your child and say "Give me the ..."; talk directly to your baby as much as possible; introduce your child to writing tools such as crayons and paper; ask "where and what" when reading to your child; encourage some independent play with favorite toys.

Age: 24 to 36 months

Lavish your child with praise and encouragement as he or she perfects motor skills; bolster your child's imagination by encouraging new ways to use toys; help your child incorporate 'real life' activities into play, such as pretending to talk on the phone, drive a car, have a tea party; when reading, incorporate your child into the story by asking questions; point to words while you read to your child; encourage identification of words on the page or their sound.

Ages 3 to 5:

Teach sharing by example; play simple board games to foster learning rules and skills; limit TV/video watching to one to two hours per day, and watch with your child to make it interactive. As children advance, offer simple choices (read a book or do a puzzle); limit the use of the word "no" and encourage exploration and natural curiosity; give your child respect and attention and show patience as your child tries to explain his or her new experiences; make time each day to sit with your child and discuss what he or she did that day, encouraging your child to explain and explore new experiences.

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Reviewed on September 04, 2015
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