By Birth: Skills Your Child Should Be Learning When They Are Born

Newborns are hope and joy personified. As consumers of information—always watching, listening, touching, tasting, and smelling—they are bundles of potential and need. It’s important that babies are nurtured and encouraged to learn and grow from the moment they’re born. In fact, 75% of a child’s brain will develop by age three. As a parent, you are your child’s first and most important teacher.

What Can You Do to Help Your Child Learn and Grow?

  • Interact with your baby. Even though your baby cannot talk yet, they are learning language when you interact with them.

  • Respond to your baby’s needs quickly. It helps them understand that they can trust the world around them, and—we promise—you can’t spoil a baby.

  • Talk with your baby about everything you are doing. When you are at the grocery store, folding laundry, picking them up and moving them, the more you talk with them, the more they will be learning.

  • Read books to them. Point out pictures, and make up stories about them. When they are older, let them flip the pages.

  • Lovingly touch your baby often.

  • Hold your baby.

  • Provide consistent routines for your baby. Bedtime, bath time, and feeding time are great opportunities to begin routines.

  • Visit your baby’s physician regularly.

  • Limit exposure to “screen time.” Babies need to interact with real people, not TVs or tablets.

  • Provide a safe sleep environment for your baby in their own crib or Pack 'n Play. The space should be free from blankets, bumper pads, and stuffed animals. Put your child to sleep on their back.

  • Request a Developmental Screening from your physician when your baby is 9 months old.

  • Limit background noises when interacting with your baby. Radio or TV can interrupt your baby's ability to focus on you.

  • Provide lots of opportunities for safe exploration on the ground. Babies need time to build their muscles.

  • Watch your baby for cues for when they are stressed, hungry, or upset. Respond to these needs.

  • Limit stress in the environment as much as possible. A baby's developing brain can be impacted by stress in their environment.

  • Take your baby outside for walks.

  • If child care is needed, use your local child care resource and referral office to learn about high-quality options in your area.

  • Encourage play with your child. Children learn best through play!