What’s good for baby’s brain?

It's the simple, caring things that parents do for baby that give baby a strong, healthy brain.

A strong, loving relationship between baby and parents is a very powerful factor for building a healthy brain and setting baby up for strong development throughout life.

Nature and nurture

Most brain development happens after birth and is a combination of nature and nurture.

Ask the whānau:

  • What’s something you’ve done with your baby this week that you both enjoyed?
  • Can you tell me more about what you did?
  • What made it enjoyable?
  • How do you know it was enjoyable for baby?
  • What do you think ‘nature and nurture’ means?
  • How do you think you nurture your baby’s brain development?

Affirm parents’ input. Even if a child was born with the same genetic makeup as someone like Albert Einstein, they’ll never reach their potential if they’re not nurtured with loving care and attention. A secure attachment relationship is a very powerful factor for healthy brain growth.

Simple things making all the difference

It’s the simple, caring things that parents do every day that are nurturing their baby’s brain. Repeated experiences build stronger brain connections – which then become permanent. Ask:

  • What senses does baby use to take in experiences?
  • What do they see, hear, smell, touch or taste?
  • What do you find yourself talking with baby about?
  • What do you think baby would say back to you if they could use words?
  • Do you think you could do one or two of these suggestions with baby every day?
    • go for a walk
    • hang out the washing
    • sit in the garden
    • go to the mall
    • visit friends or whānau
    • go to the beach
    • listen to music
    • share a book
    • sing a song
    • go for a ride in the car or on a bus or train.

Baby is learning to trust the world and the people in it. They’re also forming connections about relationships based on their first relationship – the one with their primary caregiver.

  • Do you have any ideas that could give baby some other sensory experiences?
  • Was there anything that you learned today that would help you plan activities in future?

Helpful resources for whānau