Could your adorable little love-bug also be… smart? Science says yes! Infants and toddlers have a lot going on inside their minds. As they learn and grow, their mile-a-minute brains are firing off 1,000 trillion synapses (the connections between brain cells), which is twice the amount of synapses your brain is capable of. Here are five incredible facts that will show you just how much of a smarty your baby is.
Babies can tell when you speak a different language
A baby’s brain can pick up on the shape of the speaker’s mouth and facial cues when there is a different language being spoken. This is why babies who grow up in bilingual households can learn languages much easier than babies who grow up hearing only one language.
They can perceive mood swings and read body language
A study in Developmental Psychology showed that even infants who had never interacted with a dog could tell the difference between an angry bark and a friendly one. The same goes for human voices and tones. Babies can even pick up on mood shifts in a piece of classical music. This is why psychologists suggest that you play a lot of Beethoven and Bach around a newborn.
They learn which words correspond to objects long before they can speak
Reading a picture book to a two-month-old might seem pointless, but studies show that infants as young as six months can match the picture of an apple (or an actual apple) to the word ‘apple’. Even though it may be awhile before your baby can speak, keep pointing out objects to your little one. It pays off.
They get happier when they share
This one is just flat-out adorable! In a recent study, toddlers were given two treats and asked to share one of those treats with a puppet. The children who shared were happier, which points to the brain’s capacity to derive joy from helping others in a social environment.
They can perceive when you need a hand
If mom is reaching out for her glasses on the bedside table, an 18-month old will walk over to help her get them. Psychologists call this ability to understand somebody’s goals ‘shared intentionality’.