Parents’ Role in Newborn Development




The first three years of life are a critical time for brain development. Over the course of these first years, your little one’s brain will triple in weight and build trillions of nerve connections! Yes—trillions! While your baby is born with some survival reflexes, he is still quite helpless, depending on you for care and guidance as he learns about the world around him. A lot of your natural parental instincts will naturally aid in your little one’s neurodevelopment.

Although all of the neurons have been created before birth, they are poorly connected. Connections in his brain are made every second of every day as he observes his environment and learns from you—his parents. Even if you don’t realize that they are occurring, your little one reaches milestones each day, such as his vision becoming more clear and colorful.

And just as you were created to be a provider, your baby is naturally drawn to looking at your face and listening to you talk or sing. Even as a newborn, he is learning your emotional cues.

How natural instincts feed development

You are crucial to your little one’s development. Your baby prefers interacting with you above anything else. It can seem intimidating at first to have a little person who is so completely dependent on you. It is important to remember that you are programmed to love and teach your little one and provide them with everything they need to grow and learn.

There aren’t any special tricks to make your little one smarter, but providing love, affection and comfort are certain to provide your baby with the security he needs to feel confident in exploring his surroundings. Have you ever noticed that most adults and even children are drawn to newborns, wanting to touch, hold and play with them? This is a part of the instinct to provide newborns with what they desire most—comfort and interaction.

Being purposeful in your interactions

While you are naturally inclined to provide your little one with what he needs for healthy brain development, there are still things you can do to be purposeful in your interactions and challenge your little one even more.

Two of the best things you can do are to make eye contact and talk to your baby. Since your newborn doesn’t know what you are saying, it doesn’t really matter what you talk about. 

If your newborn is awake while you are completing an activity, like folding clothes, try explaining or describing the activity to him. Talk about the colors, the way the clothes feel and what the different clothes are for. If something catches his attention—maybe a pet playing, a bird outside, or someone entering the house—explain that to him too. “Oh, daddy is home from work! Daddy came to see us. Let’s ask daddy how his day was!”

Synapses in his brain are firing at an exponential rate as his brain makes connections between your words and the things he sees. These will be the building blocks that will help him have stronger verbal skills later in life and may even mean that he starts talking sooner. Remember, your little one will reach milestones at his own pace. As always, we are here to be of support to you. Please contact us anytime