Healthier babies encouraged instead of pressured

It is common knowledge that babies experience their most important developmental period when they are young, usually between the ages of 1 and 3. During this time, many parents are persistent and determined to expose their young infants to clever toys, classical CDs and other objects in order to expand their minds and, ultimately, to try to make them smarter and more intelligent. However, parents may not stop to think that perhaps their methods for helping their children could actually be more harmful to their infants. Constant exposure to forced stimuli and pushing new objects on children could lead to disappointments, competitiveness and perhaps impossibly high expectations in later years. Babies and young children should be encouraged but also be given ample time to properly develop and grow at their own pace. Eager parents should not force or push their children into activities without proper consideration or bombard them with objects designed to make them cleverer.

Slight encouragement is not the issue, but constant exposure can be tiring and stressful for children. Senior political analyst Sara Mead works with Education Sector, a centrist Washington think tank. Mead told to USA Today that “While neural connections in babies’ brains grow rapidly in the early years, adults can’t make newborns smarter or more successful by having them listen to Beethoven or play with Einstein-inspired blocks.”

Also, there is no proof that an infant’s only window of opportunity for knowledge starts and stops like clockwork, and terminates after the age of 3. Knowledge is continuous throughout a person’s life. Though babies’ and infants’ minds can be compared a sponges in relation to soaking up their surroundings, it is not the only time where children can be encouraged.

Many parents would like to see their children accomplish what they themselves were unable to accomplish. They live vicariously through their children, and overstimulate and overpopulate their children’s senses for a seemingly good cause, which is to make sure their children are well-rounded, healthy and intelligent human beings who will have the upper hand in life because of the parents’ determination. Life moves at a fast pace, and too many parents raise their children to the same rhythm. Children need time, patience and a calm environment to properly and healthily develop and mature. Fast or nervous environments can possibly affect children and infants negatively in future years. Parents should learn to slow down and realize that letting their children grow naturally at their own pace, with a healthy amount of encouragement, can be an improved and safer approach to life for their children.

Ylona Cupryjak is a sophomore theatre major from Keller. Her column appears Tuesdays.