Children between the ages of six months and three years are able to develop skills and retain more information than those taught later in life. We know all too well that they may not obey, but they are hearing and processing at incredible speeds. During these “high processing years,” introducing your children to languages, reading, words and math skills can give them a jump on the learning process and aid them in achieving success throughout their school years.
A child’s physical activity is linked directly to his or her academic learning, so you need to make time for activities such as running, rolling and hopping.
Studies have shown that children who engaged in different kinds of mobile activities before the age of one may have enhanced brain development. They can easily do these activities outdoors, but don’t forget that indoor spaces like a child-proof living room, or even inside a play yard (like pack’n play), offer safe opportunities for them to get their rolls and tumbles.
Connect with Other Parents
If your children are similar in age to the others in the neighborhood, you can try to connect with parents in your community by sharing ideas and swapping experiences. This will help jumpstart your toddler’s development and allows your child to learn to play and socialize with other children their own age.
They also learn to listen and follow instructions from other adults within the community, so they’re ready for teacher instruction when they go off to school.
Develop a Sense of Creativity
Dedicate a specific room or area in your home where your child can get their creative juices to flow. If they have a tendency to lean toward artistic projects, you can provide paint, play dough, crayons and drawing paper.
Some children may be more musically inclined and small musical instruments, songs and sounds may draw their attention. You don’t have to go out and spend a lot of money to encourage your child to use their imagination since the simplest of things can promote creativity.
Pay Attention to Their Impulses
Parents can promote the learning process by being good listeners. If they expound on something they heard in a story or saw outside, you can provide additional materials that can feed that interest. If your child is fascinated by the moon and space exploration, you can get a small telescope, posters and books related to the subject. Staying focused to their interests can encourage them to pursue their passions and dreams later in life.
Learning tools such as good old-fashioned books, toddler computer software, alphabet games for the bathtub and discovery kits open the world up for your children. Computer software opens the door to technology and teaches them how to use a keyboard. It’s also an interesting way to learn words, colors, numbers and sounds.
Alphabet games for the bathtub can be a fun way to connect the written language with the sounds. This is also a great time to introduce foreign languages to your child with DVDs since it’s much easier for them to pick it up now than later.
Reading is another important tool in learning, and it can promote bonding. If they want you to keep reading a favorite book, don’t be afraid of repetition because this is an integral part of processing information.
Your home should be an environment where a wide variety of activities take place and can stimulate their mind. Opening the door to learning in a natural environment encourages them to expand their horizons and discover things on their own.
Akilah Richards is a mother of two daughters who are less than two years apart. She speaks from personal experience about the benefits of taking a creative approach to educating her children outside of the traditional (waiting for school) route. During her daughters’ toddler years, Akilah relied heavily on books, toddler mats, play dates, and a sturdy play yard (like pack’n play) to keep them safely occupied. These easy solutions for the beautiful chaos of motherhood offer much-needed reprieve for moms looking to simplify the tasks that come with choosing to educate your children at home.