11 - 12 Months

The brain-building benefits of letting your baby struggle

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Video: Watch Jessica cheer on baby Hadassah as she navigates obstacles to get what she wants

We have so many worries as parents: Is that safe? That looks like it’s full of germs. What if they put it into their mouth? Yet research has correlated the amount of freedom children have to explore with their later cognitive abilities.

Having plenty of chances to engage with the real world without restrictions—digging around in (safe) drawers and cupboards, self-feeding, playing in a pile of rocks outside, figuring out how to get to something that is out of reach—is excellent for your baby’s brain.

We do so much for our children: change their diapers, prepare their food, bathe them—we help them with just about everything. It is easy to forget how capable they are becoming.

It may seem bizarre to consider letting a sweet little baby solve their own problem; our instinct is to protect them and keep them comfortable. Yet letting them struggle a little bit to get that toy or use a spoon to feed himself helps them build both competence and confidence.

Watch the video above to see a baby struggle through a task.

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Team Lovevery

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Posted in: 11 - 12 Months, Problem Solving, Resilience, Real World Play, Child Development

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