EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- As parents, we all want to spend time and play with our kids, especially our newborns. But did you know that simply playing and talking to your babies can boost their IQ?
That's how a baby's brain works, says expert Sandra Sunquist Stanton.
"Every brain comes with 100 billion brain cells," says Stanton who is part of the B.R.A.I.N. Team of Eau Claire County.
Those 100 billion brain cells are much more vulnerable than any adult's.
"They're not connected so the experiences they receive from their parents and just being together are the ones that really help make those connections," says Stanton.
Parents and soon-to-be parents gathered at the Family Resource Center for Eau Claire County to learn how they can help boost their baby's brain power during the course Building Baby's Brain.
Lyndsay Shepler is mom of 4-month-old Deven.
"I just think education and brain development is very important and I want to give him the best chance at being successful in life," says Shepler who is getting a head start on helping her son begin his brain development.
Stanton says there are eight needs that lead to healthy brain development:
Play & Exploration - Children learn best when they are feeling happy and having fun. The brain responds to emotions.
Language & Reading - Babies need to be exposed to a word in context about 200 times before they understand and use it. Face to face interaction is necessary for language growth.
Music & Movement - Music improves learning and memory. Moving to music integrates the right and left sides of the brain.
Interaction - Interaction feeds the brain like food feeds the body, helping it to grow and work better.
Good Food - Healthy fats help to insulate and protect brain connections. Children make brain connections by smelling, tasting and touching foods.
Rest & Sleep: Rest periods and downtime allow the brain to recharge and "clear the clutter" while sleep allows our brains to make sense of daily experiences and organize memories.
Security - Stress causes the brain to shut down. Familiar objects, places, people and routines promote a sense of security, safety and trust.
Touch - Without touch an infant's brain and body will stop growing. Touch helps low birth weight babies grow more quickly and helps all babies digest food better.
"A baby who isn't receiving a lot of interaction from their caregiver begins to feel like they don't matter," says Stanton. "Keeping eye contact with your baby is very very important. Infant massage is a wonderful thing. It helps with digestion and it's a bonding thing."
And it's those early experiences that can lead to brain power.
"It's opening up their brain to be willing to try something new and it has been known to raise the IQ," says Stanton.
Stanton says she teaches Building Baby's Brain courses quarterly along with other brain courses.
For more information head to http://ourbrainbuddies.com/