Babies need to be stimulated from birth

Rather than waiting for babies to show their first movements to stimulate them, the researchers offer anticipation. Photo: Bigstock

Encouraging newborns and infants up to 3 months to handle objects and observe adults in their daily tasks promotes social, motor and cognitive development in children. The discovery was made by researchers at the University of São Paulo and the results were published in the May issue of the scientific journal Infant Behavior & Development. The information was shared by the FAPESP agency.

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The aim of the study is that babies, from birth, assist adults in their daily activities on a daily basis. It is even recommended that children be in contact with objects that adults handle so that they develop the skills to hold them and reach out to reach them.

These social interactions will allow the baby to learn, very early on, to use his own body in a functional way. In addition, he begins to understand the relationships between his movements and the consequences in the environment.

“Research has shown, since the 1970s, that babies can copy facial expressions from birth. We suggest that they mimic everything, both expressions and motor actions of object manipulation. copy and they learn to use them ”, explains Priscilla Ferronato, researcher at the Institute of Health Sciences of the Universidade Paulista and first author of the book, in an interview with Agência FAPESP.

To reach these conclusions, the researchers reviewed the studies and theoretical perspectives, and presented the new approach as an alternative to understanding imitation and manual activities. The suggestions are based on the reproduction of simple and easily adaptable scenarios, which reproduce experimental situations from classical studies of child development.

Encourage babies from an early age

Although, during the first three months, babies, in general, are not able to perform the movements to reach objects on their own, the research proposition is precisely that caregivers encourage this movement beforehand.

“Caregivers generally encourage the use of their hands as soon as babies learn the movement to reach for objects. Our proposal is the opposite: encourage them in the period when they still cannot, ”says Ferronato.

What has to be done?

One of the activities proposed by the researchers is to place an object with a smooth texture in the child’s hands. Then add roughness to this surface, so that the baby can feel the difference in grip.

Another suggestion is to offer the baby a finger to hold and, when he can, to smile. Thus, he will make the association of touch with the visual stimulus.

Also, in a low light environment, place a beam of light, such as a normal flashlight or cell phone flashlight, that crosses the baby horizontally at chest height. The idea is for him to try to control his arms when he searches for the beam of light.

“Our ultimate goal is to convey this information not only to daycare teachers for practical application, but also to parents, as babies are usually at home during this learning period from the first months of life,” says Ferronato. .

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