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Children are born with marvelous imaginations and a keen desire to explore the world–here's how you can help them hone those skills, boost brain development and set your child up for a lifetime of successful learning.
How to Teach Infants and Toddlers at their Level
Children have an inbuilt drive for discovery and behave like little scientists. They're eager to observe and make "what if" discoveries about their world, but they don't necessarily see things the way adults do. As a parent, you can help them best by encouraging them to observe the world and to feel a sense of wonder for everything in it:
1. Take things to their level: Remember that your child's world is up close and low to the ground. Seeing life from her point of view can help you share her learning process and rediscover the sense of wonder of a young child.
2. Encourage play as a voyage of discovery: Infants and toddlers test their environment and "cause and effect" to see what happens when they drop a toy out of their highchair, or splash the water in their bath. Developing these thinking skills is an important opportunity for learning, so it's important to encourage play as a voyage of discovery. Help them become more adventurous in the things that they try out, from making mud pies in the garden to starting a worm farm in the living room.
3. Take your time: Keep in mind the slow moving pace of your child's world. Follow her lead and be prepared to stop and examine anything that captures her interest–a ladybug or a flower, for example. Don't get impatient when she dawdles, simply adjust to her pace and watch as she learns.
4. Get hands on: The best way for children to learn is by doing things, not by being told about them. This is especially true when they are young, but it also applies to older children and even adults. When children are young, they are not only learning things, they are learning how to learn. No book using words and illustrations to describe the world can replace the value of experiencing the real thing.
Books and other materials help children to pull these powerful impressions and experiences together in their minds, but the foundation needs to be laid in direct observation and hands-on experience.