How Smart Is Your Baby? by Glenn Doman. Book review

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I’ve finally got my hands on “How Smart is Your Baby?” by Doman. Since someone recently was asking if this book is worth buying (in addition to other “Teach Your Baby” series) I decided to post this review:

First of all, I have all “How to teach your baby…” – Reading, Math, Encyclopedic Knowledge, Swimming, Physically Superb. “How smart is your baby” is slightly different (I haven’t read the “increase your baby’s intelligence”), though it has bits of everything.

1. This book takes you step by step with physical, verbal, and cognitive stimulation from first days after birth.
2. Every chapter consists of: how to test your babies current abilities, how to stimulate the baby, charts and to-do lists.
3. Appendix has some things that are covered in “Physically Superb” book – how to build branchiation ladder, how to build tunnel, etc. But it also has some things that other books don’t have – charts, to-do lists, and an article on SIDS.
4. This book combines all the programs and tells you specifically when to start introducing reading, when to start introducing crawling tracks, when to start introducing other physical or cognitive stimulation components. Actually the timelines in this book differ from “Teach your baby to read” that recommends to start flashing words from day one, and from “physically superb”, that also has different set of excersizes on the initial stages.

What I loved the most was the language development component – sounds fantastic, I can’t wait to try it.

What I didn’t like – is the the schedule they insist upon – usually it seems to me that there are not enough hours in one day to fulfill the program that Doman books suggest. Every time I finish reading one of Doman’s list of recommendations, I remain bewildered, where such everyday activities as eating, sleeping (I am not even talking about socializing or taking care of other kids!) come into – it seems like every second of the baby’s waking time he is supposed to be pinched, flashed with light or card, otherwise stimulated. And sleeping time as well. Also, some of the methods of stimulation don’t seem right to me – they may be good for his brain development, but they seem to me wrong for his nervous system – aren’t babies supposed to enjoy peaceful environment, without constantly being pinched, blown away with a horn or going through some other unpleasant stimulation?

Being in total awe with all the research that Doman performs on the child development, I still can’t agree with another component – putting everything on hold: life, holidays, week-ends, housework. Baby might need a stimulation, but she also will need a clean shirt to wear, and the mother will need some food for herself to provide her baby with healthy breast milk. Somebody has to prepare that food, somebody has to provide mom with a clean plate and somebody has to make sure that the baby is crawling in a tunnel that is not dusty. Even in the households where dads provide tremendous help with the housework (like my amazing husband), or in the households rich enough to outsource all the housework – with cleaning ladies and maids, there are still plenty of other resonsibilites that might not add directly to the developmental profile of the baby, but still have to be done.

Same goes for week-ends and holidays: Doman insists that all the programs have to be carried out consistently, without unnecessary breaks for week-ends and holidays. I strongly believe everyone needs a break. Adults, children, babies. Everyone needs a change in the activities – I am sure that among the warmest and most dearest memories for every baby there will be primarily the time on week-ends and holidays that is spent with dad and siblings, special times with the whole family – may be less educational, but greatly beneficial for their self-confidence and feeling of self-worth. I strongly believe the same applies for mother’s need for a personal time. After just a few hours on the week-end that don’t involve the daily developmental routine, I usually feel refreshed and ready for more fun during the week. Everyone DOES need a break – baby, mom, and the rest of the family.

So, I actually found this book very useful and will gladly try some parts of this program once my own little one arrives. Which parts, and in which quantity – I’ll see how it goes, how is baby reacting to the stimulation, and how it fits into the schedule of having two kids who need mommy’s attention and some developmental activities. I am definitely ordering crawling track and introductory cards. I am not so sure about pinching, light flashing, blowing horn and banging blocks. As I already said, I can’t try the language excersizes from the book. I am still debating over SIDS argument presented in the book. I am definitely performing some evaluations to see how the baby is doing on the developmental profile. And I am definitely recommending this book to anyone who is interested in early development for his/her baby. Though, with a grain of salt, as I think everything should be taken.

Newborn Baby Exercises Checklist
Doman Newborn Baby Choice Board

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