Four Common Myths About Your Baby’s Cognitive Development That Need to Go Away
Your baby’s cognitive development is arguably one of the most vital stages of his growth as it is at this period when he starts to develop his various senses as well as his means of communication. However, since there is still a lot to know about child intelligence, this period can be rather confusing. In this article, we will take a look at the various myths about babies’ cognitive development, intelligence and uncover the truth behind them.
Myth no. 1: Playing classical music will make your baby smarter
This is arguably one of the most pervasive myths about babies’ cognitive development. The notion of a so-called “Mozart effect” started in 1993 with the publication of a research on spatial reasoning. The study showed that college students who listened to one of Mozart’s sonata did well in certain spatial reasoning tasks.
While the study did not specifically say that the results were applicable to other age groups (including babies), subsequent retelling eventually made it be so. From there, the myth took on a life of its own, with several self-help books claiming that this effect has been observed in babies several years before the study.
But, as it turns out, there is yet no conclusive evidence that this is indeed the case. As it turns out, while there are studies about the effects of music on babies, it has been shown that any positive effect can actually be seen with any type of music and not just classical pieces. On the other hand, it is worth noting that teaching your baby to play musical instruments actually helps to improve his intelligence.
Myth no. 2: Breastfeeding helps increase your baby’s intelligence
This one is actually partly true in that breastfed babies have been shown to have higher IQ points than those who did not go through the practice. However, in an interesting twist, this result might be due to the mother herself than to the act of breastfeeding. Studies showed that mothers who have higher IQ points tend to breastfeed more. Hence, a baby’s greater intelligence may be partly due to his mother being more intelligent.
And to put a further nail down on this one, other studies have shown that, once the above factors have been ruled out, there is no direct link between breastfeeding and increase in IQ. However, that does not mean that you ought to give up on breastfeeding, as there are a lot of benefits from it that far outweigh this. For one, breastfeeding has been shown to enhance your baby’s immune system, which is key for him fending off diseases.
Myth no. 3: Baby videos help improve baby development
This myth is actually more of a marketing claim made by producers of these video series. Babies usually start to pay attention to and “watch” television by five months. These baby videos claim to stimulate your baby’s brain and thus supposedly give him a head start in learning. However, several studies revealed that there is actually no discernible benefit from TV watching for children under the age of two.
To add salt to the injury, exposing your child early to television might actually do him more harm than good. This is because babies who tend to watch more TV actually end up learning fewer words, which can increase the risk of speech delays. Hence, it would be better for him to interact more with the people around him, as he will be able to improve his vocabulary better.
Myth no. 4: Tablet and phone games will make your baby more computer literate later
his is a particularly new myth spurred by the growth in the use of mobile devices. The idea here is that the earlier you expose your young one to these gadgets, the easier they will be able to adapt to these technologies later. However, while your baby might indeed become more readily acclimated to them, this does not necessarily mean they become more computer literate.
There is also concerns babies becoming more focused on the screens of these devices as they will have less time to interact directly with their parents and other people. What more, parents themselves may end up reading less to their babies. Hence, it would be good practice for you to limit your child’s use of gadgets and instead let him engage in a variety of other activities where he gets to interact more with other people.
In our next post, we will take a look at some of the common problems that you and your baby might encounter during his cognitive development