6 common misconceptions about babies

Find out how much you know about babies.

UNICEF
UNICEF/China/2007/Li Mingfang

A baby cannot see and hear at birth. True or false? 

False. Babies can see and hear from birth. When you look in your child’s eyes and smile in response to his/her smiles, he/she learns to communicate and respond to you. Many babies actually remember songs they heard repeatedly while still in the womb, so you should begin talking (and singing!) to your child right away - even before birth. 

Before your child speaks, the only way he/she communicates is by crying. True or false? 

False. Babies express themselves in many ways. From laughing and smiling to show enjoyment, to crying and wiggling to show discomfort. Paying attention to what your baby is trying to communicate helps you be sensitive to his/her needs and respond appropriately. 

You should talk to your child, even before the child can speak. True or false? 

True. Babies enjoy making new sounds such as squeals and laughs. They respond to your voice with more sounds and copy the sounds they hear. They learn how to communicate with you even before they can say words. 

Your child drops things just to annoy you. True or false? 

False. Children are like little scientists. From the very first months, they want to find out how they can affect people and things around them. Stacking things up, dropping them or banging them together all help children learn about the world around them.  

Babies learn better by trying things out and copying others rather than by being told what to do. True or false? 

True. Children learn by playing and trying things out, and by observing and copying what others do. For example, if you want your child to try a different food, you need to demonstrate by eating the food yourself. 

The brain develops most rapidly when your child first enters school. True or false? 

False. The brain develops most rapidly before birth and during the first two years of life. During this time, up to 75 per cent of each meal goes to building your baby’s brain and 15 minutes of play can spark thousands of brain connections. So remember, with every hug and kiss, with every nutritious meal and game you play with them, you’re helping to build your baby’s brain!  

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