PROMOTING CHILD DEVELOPMENTAL SKILLS
About Early Learning - Children are constantly learning, right from birth. Their early years are the foundation for growth and development, and what they learn during those years depends on the experiences they have each and every day. This is our greatest challenge as caregivers, as well as our greatest opportunity.
How can parents, grandparents and caregivers support learning? Since children learn in a variety of ways and styles, to achieve developmental milestones the relationship with parents and primary caregivers is essential. It's a connection that allows for optimum learning.
Source: Born Learning: About Early Learning - http://www.bornlearning.org/default.aspx?id=16
Promoting Learning - Most of a child’s experiences involve relationships with caregivers. Newborns come into the world eager for this interaction. They want to connect with you right from the beginning. It is this emotional connection that helps give them the confidence that they need to learn. Science has demonstrated that children who receive lots of love and attention actually learn better. From the very first moments of life with a baby, the love and attention that you share will lay the groundwork for later learning.
Everyday interactions offer the comfort and security that help promote learning:
- Love and affection: Giving a child love and attention helps her feel confident, relaxed and happy, which in turn, promotes her intellectual development.
- A predictable world: Providing routines and consistent responses gives a child a sense that the world is trustworthy and teaches him that he can depend on you.
- Opportunities for fun: Activities that most encourage a child’s brain to grow are those that she enjoys. If she is forced to participate in activities that do not hold her interest, she will tune out.
- The sound of your voice: The newborn brain is especially interested in sounds – the building blocks of speech and language. Let a baby hear your voice as much as possible.
- Understanding and patience: Respond to a child’s needs without worrying that you will spoil him. By responding, you teach him that you care and that he can trust you to read his signals.
- Time to digest new information: Beware of over-stimulation. If a child is exposed to a lot of new information without time to digest and process it, she will tune out or break down.
Source: Born Learning: Promoting Early Learning - http://www.bornlearning.org/default.aspx?id=17
Ages & Stages - Throughout the early years, your child will grow and change tremendously. For more information about your child’s age and important developmental stages from birth until age five visit http://www.bornlearning.org/default.aspx?id=19
Source: Born Learning: Ages & Stages - http://www.bornlearning.org/default.aspx?id=19
Learning on the Go - It's easy and fun to provide early learning opportunities for your young child. You can do it anytime, anywhere - it's learning on the go! Here are a few ideas to turn ordinary daily activities into eye-opening experiences for your child.
Source: Born Learning: Learning on the Go - http://www.bornlearning.org/default.aspx?id=3
Promoting Health - It's well known that children learn best when they receive good healthcare, nutrition and plenty of sleep. This means visiting your doctor regularly for visits, getting plenty of sleep, and eating well in order to maximize their learning activities. Here are some tips to help your child grow up healthy.
- Healthcare - We all want children to grow up healthy and strong, but illnesses are inevitable along the way. Here are several things you can do to promote a child’s good health:
- When to visit a pediatrician: Check up or just check in (.pdf)
- Understanding Children: How do I recognize my child's illness? (.pdf)
- Caring for a young child: KidBasics (.pdf)
- Ages & Stages
- Nutrition - There’s no doubt that your child’s health is directly related to what he eats. Children need high nutrient foods to fuel their bodies and brain. Unhealthy foods such as burgers, fries, chips and soda are full of calories and don’t offer the nutrients a child needs for healthy growth. Here are some meal ideas for young children (.pdf) to help you get started.
- Sleep - Healthy sleep provides brainpower and fuels a child’s growth and development. It enables the mind to stay alert, increasing a child’s ability to learn, concentrate and adapt to new situations. There are times during the day and night when a child’s brain will become less alert. These are the best times for a child to be soothed to sleep. Learn more about establishing good sleep habits:
- Understanding Children: What are the stages of sleep? (.pdf)
- Understanding Children: How do I help my child develop good sleep habits? (.pdf)
- Sleep Diary (.pdf)
- Sleep throughout ages & stages
Source: Born Learning: Promoting Health - http://www.bornlearning.org/default.aspx?id=24
Selecting Childcare Providers - Quality matters most when deciding on any type of childcare. Look for a welcoming, nurturing environment where children can have fun and be safe. Take your time, do your homework and ask a lot of questions until you find the right situation. Research shows that the following factors determine whether childcare accommodations are considered high quality:
- Small groups of children - To ensure individualized attention, for every group of 6 to 8 babies, 6 to 10 toddlers, or 16 to 20 preschoolers, there should be 2 adults.
- Consistent caregivers - Infants and toddlers need nurturing from consistent caregivers to build their self-esteem and sense of security.
- Adequate staff compensation - When the staff is paid well, they tend to stay in their position longer, which in turn, ensures consistency in care-giving.
- Active parents - Involved parents help ensure trust, communication and consistency between home and childcare.
- Education and training - A staff trained in child development is critical to high quality childcare.
- Clean, safe and stimulating environment - This type of environment is essential to a child’s development.
Source: Born Learning: Selecting Child Care Providers - http://www.bornlearning.org/default.aspx?id=23