1. Talk to your baby. This may seem obvious, but, particularly with the first born, it is easy to fall into a pattern of performing the household chores in silence while your baby watches from his swing or baby seat. Speak clearly and look at your baby while you speak. Tell him about what you are doing. If you are cooking supper, you can introduce him to food words, words describing kitchen utensils and appliances, and other words such as slice, chop, or mix. You just might be able to distract your child during what may be a cranky time. Use simple sentences and gradually introduce descriptive words. Baby talk is fine! Talk in a sing-song voice if you want. Play with words and vary your expression. Have fun with your baby!
2. Read to your baby from birth. Find a comfy rocker, prop your baby in the crook of your arm, and pick out a favorite picture book. (See some suggestions on this page.) Point to the pictures and describe what you say. A book before naps and bedtime is a pleasant routine and a nice way to wind down for sleeping. Vary your tone of voice and pause for your baby to enjoy the pictures. Remember, reading is not limited to books. When you are stopped at a stop sign - show your toddler the word STOP, read KIX on the front of the cereal box, DELI in the grocery store.... (My children were all very pleased with themselves when they realized they could read the word PIZZA )
3. Listen to music. There are many tapes and cd's on the market today which encourage early learning in our babies such as Build Your Baby's Brain - Through the Power of Music , Baby Bach , and Baby needs Mozart Try one of these or one of the more traditional children's song's tapes. Or go through your own music collection and pick out what you like best. Sing along or dance-along just for fun. Remember to keep the volume low to moderate.
4. Infant Toys. Textured toys, mobiles, activity centers, unbreakable mirrors, black and white line drawings, squeaky toys....just because your baby may not be sitting or holding things yet, should not stop you from playing with her. Talk to her and hold objects in front of her showing her the different sounds and letting her touch the variety of textures. This stimulation is wonderful for infants. Later, balls, stacking bricks, and other engaging toys are excellent. It is a good idea to give your child one or two toys at a time and trade them in for others when you notice his attention start to fade. Show your child how the toy works and then leave them to explore it on their own