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A baby’s brain contains 100 billion neurons and will grow trillions of brain-cell connections, which are called neural synapses. However, even with all of those trillions of connections, without our help, your child’s potential could be lost.

As parents, it is our job to provide them with loving, language-enriched experiences, which help your baby’s brain continue to grow and boosts their intelligence. The interactions our baby has with us help to build the neural pathways that boost their brain development. The more you help your baby through their brain development, the more likely they will have fine-tuned language, reasoning, and planning skills.

Below, I have listed 9 ways you can help to boost your baby’s intelligence.

1. Play games that involve hands.

Games like peekaboo, patty-cake, and puppets engage your baby and help get their attention. By using hand games, you are teaching your child how to physically interact with the world around them, and also encourages hand-eye coordination.

2. Be attentive.

Pay attention to your child and make sure to look at them often. The reason for this is that your little one learns social cues by learning to read your face. Additionally, it helps them to feel secure and ensures that they are safe and loved.

3. Encourage them to be passionate about books.

Cultivate a passion for books early on, by making reading a major part of their life. Do this by reading to them each night and making reading time fun and interactive. Children expand their vocabulary, fine-tune their imaginative capabilities and learn social skills through reading. And starting early will encourage them to continue into adolescence and beyond.

4. Choose developmental toys.

There are so many toys that are specifically made for brain development. Puzzles and other cause-and-effect toys, as well as sensory play toys, can help build those connections in your baby’s brain, that will ultimately help them to become more intelligent.

5. Converse with them, often.

So much of what your baby learns will come through interactions with you. Make sure that you speak to them constantly, not just with baby talk, but in normal conversations as well. While they may not fully understand everything you say now- their brains are much like sponges and will hold onto that information and begin putting things together as they get older.

6. Respond to your baby when they are upset.

When your baby is upset, soothingly respond to them. This will help create a positive brain circuitry in their limbic system, which is tied to their emotions. Additionally, you should strive to cuddle and calm your baby in other day-to-day interactions.

7. Cultivate trust.

When you are spending time with your little one, it’s important to not get distracted. If your phone goes off, resist the urge to check your social media and instead, get involved and play with them. This will build a secure attachment, which will later help them to connect with others easily.

8. Get them to help you clean.

As your baby grows into a toddler, get them to help you clean. Of course, remember, this should be age appropriate. Things like having them put up their toys, or sorting through their toys, can help boost brain development.

9. Make meal times count.

Meal times are a wonderful time for learning. Make sure that you are saying the names of what they are eating as they are eating it. And as they learn how to feed themselves, make sure that you positively reinforce this. Even if they are messy, encourage them and give them praise.