Easy things you can do to stimulate your child’s development.
- Talk to your child. That’s right, just talk to him as you go about your day. MoreTalk to your child using normal language and patterns of speech rather than “baby talk”. The way your baby and older child hears you and others speak will be the way he speaks. By giving her the proper names of things she will not have to unlearn baby talk as she gets older.Tell an infant about everything that is going on around him: the dog is barking; I’m fixing your bottle for you; I’m changing your diaper now and you will feel dry in a moment; you are playing with a soft teddy bear.
Give your child the words she needs when she points or gestures before she can talk herself: Do you want more peas; That’s a lamp. When I turn it on it gives us light; That’s a picture of a zebra. It looks like a horse, but a zebra always has stripes.
Ask questions to encourage decision-making and to let your child know his opinions are important: What did you like best about the story; Which friend would you like to invite to the park today; Do you like warm or cold weather the best; Why?
Listen and answer your child’s questions truthfully.
Give your child as much time as he needs to finish what he wants to say without hurrying him or speaking for him.
- Sing with your child every day.
- Read to your child every day, even before birth. MoreListening to stories and looking at pictures stimulates the brain, develops language, teaches new concepts, and develops a love of books and learning.Infants and toddlers like board and fabric books with colorful pictures of real things, people, and animals instead of cartoon depictions.Choose books that encourage touching and pointing to objects. Talk about what they see in the pictures.
Read rhymes, jingles, predictable story lines, and stories about real people, places, or situations the child can associate with.
Choose both story books and books about animals, birds, insects, flowers, people, and places.
- Play pat-a-cake to help develop your child’s language, rhythm skills, and hand-eye coordination.
- Encourage your child to help you put the groceries away, naming the items as you put them away.
- Read aloud good news articles from the newspaper.
- Put a black and white mobile with simple objects or patterns on your child’s bassinet as soon as she’s born to stimulate vision for the first two months.
- After watching a DVD with your children, watch the extras to see how the movie was made.
- Crawl around with your child and play with him from his point of view. MorePlay stimulates the brain and helps develop the imagination.Parents are their child’s first toy.
Build towers with blocks, tubes, or plastic tubs to develop eye-hand coordination.
Crawling races around the house are fun, build muscles and promote coordination.
Build a cave out of cushions and pillows. Children love a hiding place.
- Teach your child how to be safe. MoreTeach your child her name, address, phone number, and parents’ names.Teach her how to dial 911 and when she should dial it and when she should not dial it.
Teach her what a stranger is.
Teach her a code word to be used by a person who does not normally pick her up from preschool.
- Teach your baby how to kiss and hug.
- Provide experiences to develop your child’s senses. MoreMove an infant onto different surfaces to stimulate the sense of touch: a fur rug, a blanket, etc.Once a baby is crawling, provide different floor surfaces to crawl across so the brain registers different textures.
Provide objects and experiences to learn about different shapes, sizes, and textures to touch and hold.
Take walks and point out concepts such as big and small as you compare houses, trees, or animals.
Talk about the shades of colors such as this leaf is dark green, this one is light green.
Look for opportunities to talk about rough and smooth surfaces, long and short objects, thick and thin objects, heavy and light, etc.
Compare the temperature of food or things: My cup of tea is warm, your glass of milk is cold; This rock feels cold, but the piece of wood feels warmer than the rock.
Fill a plastic milk jug with water and let him carry it to different places in the room or yard.
Provide buckets of different sizes for filling and carrying.
Talk about different sounds in your home or on your walks. How are the call of the birds different; Is the sound of the truck louder or softer than the sound of the car; Can you hear the wind blowing through the leaves on the trees?
Smell flowers, rocks, trees, grass, the cat—everything.
Talk about and compare the taste of food. Point out different taste sensations: sugar tastes sweet, pickles taste sour, pretzels taste salty, etc.
- Take frequent day trips to playgrounds.
- Establish routines and schedules for daily activities, meal times, snacks, naps, and bedtime and stick to it.
- Teach your child his body parts as you give him a bath using the proper words, not baby talk.
- Encourage your child to exercise with you.
- When you’re driving, teach your child right and left as you turn corners.
- Encourage your child to set the table, teaching her about all the pieces in a place setting.
- Talk about the weather. What is the sun? Why does it rain? Where does snow come from?
- Let your child press the button in an elevator to help teach him numbers.