Ouch! This baby always bites me when breastfeeding!Look, it is like he is laughing at me! It is like he knows what he is doing! And he does.
There are some things to consider and keep in mind when you are trying to unlock your child’s talents and adopt to their interests. We tend to greatly underestimate babies and children.They have phenomenal learning abilities and are like sponges, especially from age 0-5. The moment your child responds to your voice, you can begin to teach him. As our son has grown from infant to pre-schooler, some simple tactics we used had a huge impact on his talents’ development to date. Here are some pointers that worked for us.
- Websites like MumsVillage give you weekly or monthly updates on the development of your child and what your child is able to do. This information is quite an eye opener and will guide you quite a bit. Your infant is quite intelligent.
- Bath time was a fun learning time for us. I would point out body parts and count our son’s little fingers and toes as I washed and dried them. I named each article of clothing as it went on his little body. Bath time was both a ritual and a lesson.
- We stayed away from baby talk. Sure we indulged in a little googoo gaagaa now and then, but for the most part we spoke to the little boy as you would to any other person. This worked to build his vocabulary and ability to express himself quite early.
- Don’t have anyone to talk to? Talk to your child; talk about what you are doing as you go about your daily tasks, if you are in the kitchen, explain what you are doing and allow them to watch.
- Allow your child to help you around the house. It may slow you down and drive you up the wall, but you will be teaching them the importance of a clean house, cooking, working, or whatever it is that you are doing. Letting them clean up now will save you having to drum it into them again when they are teenagers.
- Trips to the supermarket and the market are also a learning opportunity. Use it to train them that a trip to the supermarket is a normal occurrence and not an opportunity to throw a tantrum for what they want.
- Any time you get out of the house together, point out things that would interest them, give names to things that catch their attention. Turn it into a game and ask them to say the names back to you.
- Supply them with paper, crayons, paint and show them how to use it. Allow them to make a mess and do not expect too much from them. A scribble or doodle on a page may be a great accomplishment for them. It is about developing their motor skills.
- Reading is something we do a lot at our house. We bought the little boy lots of books for him to look at and also for us to read to him. Apart from just enjoying being in your lap, they also learn quite a bit. Buy them age appropriate books as they grow older.
- If your child has to spend time in front of the TV, choose dvds or channels that teach them something as opposed to cartoons to keep them entertained. Elmo and Tinga Tinga tales are a long time favourite in our home.
- Allow them to experiment, play with water, paper, colour, play dough, sand, stones, glue, safe paper scissors, etc, in your presence as this introduces them to different textures and substances.
- Have a plan. Children like order. For instance my Mama’s Tool Kit Activity Sheet will help you bring order to your child’s day. Fill it with activities to help you remain sane.
To date people still marvel at the little boy’s progress at his age.
It is simply because we introduced things to him at an early age,instead of waiting for the teacher to do it for us. To date we still color and paint on weekends, and we read a bedtime story most nights. It is quite involving but so rewarding to be involved in the development of your child and eventually allow them to unlock their talents.
Read more from Ory on her Blog.