Childhood Development

Tips for Providing Mental Stimulation for your Gifted Infant

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"Tips for Providing Mental Stimulation for your Gifted Infant"
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Regardless whether baby shows advanced motor skills, some infants show mental aptitude very early. This aptitude will diminish if it is not nurtured like the kindling fire it is. Fan the tiny flames into a bonfire with some of these techniques.

~ Auditory stimulation
Playing classical music for children has been an idea scoffed for decades, yet there is a very calculated benefit. The complexity of the music and the diverse combination of instruments trains the infant's ear to an acuity that cannot be duplicated in the years that follow.

~ Communicative stimulation
When considering placing your infant in front of the television, stop. Instead, place the infant in bed with two or less bland toys with ambient white light or muted sunlight. Place an audio book in the player. Classic novels will introduce advanced phonics, speech rhythm and a vocal tenor television need not and will not provide.

~ Tactile stimulation
Belly time for an infant is the best time to stimulate touch. Place baby on a blanket constructed with pockets, a large zipper, buttons, Velcro, soft, smooth and rough surfaces. After the initial tasting, the infant will develop a curiosity satisfied only by mastery of the gadgets.

~ Visual stimulation
Mobiles are babies first real visual stimulus beyond mother's breast and face. Begin with a black and white mobile, as it is designed for baby's developing eyes. Move then to graphic, colored mobiles. The final stage is a ceiling mounted mobile or drawing. These can be large and complex, but should maintain repetitious graphic design elements and only the primary and secondary color palettes. Muted and pastel shades are more suited to toddlers.

~ Over stimulation
Although terrifically successful individually, these intense types of stimulation should not be combined during the first year. Over-stimulation of an infant can lead to sleep issues, both over- and under-sleeping. Stress from sleep difficulty leads to feeding issues that complicate baby's natural growth process.

~ Dual stimulation
Combining auditory stimulation with any other component is suggested. The overall result is a more relaxed infant who will be less likely to be startled. Reduce the level of complexity and volume of the auditory stimulation. Single tonal quality of rain sounds, single instrument music or the monotone recordings of single language elementary word introductions are good components to add to tactile or visual stimulation without fear of over stimulation.

~ Verbal stimulation
Recordings of repetitions of elementary words in both the infant's native and secondary tongues are suggested. Words should be monosyllabic in the native tongue, repeated at least twice and then replaced with the secondary tongue. These should be made by the parents or purchased from speech pathologists or therapists. Although not as stimulating as books, the repetition of the words will hasten the babbling of the infant.

~ Touching/Bonding/Massage stimulation
As you interact with your infant, offer your finger for him to hold. Let your child explore you. His natural instinct to explore his own body will more acutely draw parallels and disparity between his body and yours. Massage baby on the back for soothing purposes and on the limbs during quiet moments. The increased blood flow and soothing touch produces a calming effect.

~ Bonding verbal stimulation
Taking your infant on your chest and speaking softly will initiate curiosity as to the mechanics of the mouth and the imitation reflex. Allow the infant to touch your lips, teeth and tongue. As baby explores his own lips and tongue, the imitation reflex will hasten syllabic production.

~ Light stimulation
Varied levels, colors and sources of light are both interesting and beneficial to baby. Morning sunlight, colored light with the shades drawn and dimmed white light are the most common sources of light for infants. Unless indicated by a physician, ultraviolet and florescent lights should be avoided. The changing colors of a fiber optic display will amuse, but not over stimulate, the infant.

By introducing these types of stimulation in segments of no less than three days individually, you will soon be able to identify to which your infant most responds. Beginning early will ensure that you are nurturing the strongest part of the fire and which areas to avoid.

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