What should you expect of children from 1 to 2 years old?
Children this age are...
● Energetic (walk more steadily, run, push, pull, take apart, carry, and climb on and grab things).
● Busy (like to flip light switches, pour things in and out of containers, unwrap packages, and empty drawers).
Between their first and second birthdays, they...
● Like to imitate the sounds and actions of others (by pretending to do housework or yardwork, for example).
● Want to be independent and do it themselves (and express this by saying "No!").
● Can be clingy.
● Can have relatively short attention spans if not involved in an activity.
● Add variations to their physical skills (by walking back-wards or sideways, for example).
● Begin to see how they are like and unlike other children.
● Become more sensitive to the moods of others.
● Play alone or alongside other toddlers.
● Increase their vocabularies from about 2 or 3 words to about 250 words and understand more of what people say to them.
What do they need?
Children this age require...
● A safe environment for exploring.
● Opportunities to make their own choices (Do you want the red cup or the blue one?).
● Clear and reasonable limits.
● Opportunities to use big muscles (in the arms and legs, for example).
● Opportunities to manipulate small objects, such as puzzles and stackable toys.
● Activities that allow them to touch, taste, smell, hear, and see new things.
● Chances to learn about "cause and effect"--that things they do produce certain results (when a stack of blocks gets too high it will fall over).
● Opportunities to develop and practice their language skills.
● Chances to learn about kindness and caring about others' feelings.
HOW TO TURN EVERYDAY ROUTINES INTO LEARNING EXPERIENCES
Nearly all daily routines can be educational for a growing baby. For instance, even something as simple as shopping can turned into a valuable experience to help your child learn. It's especially good for teaching new words and introducing preschoolers to new people and places.
What you'll need is a short shopping list. And here's what to do!
1. Pick a time when neither you nor your child is hungry or tired.
2. At the grocery store, put your child in the grocery cart so that he faces you. Take your time as you walk up and down the aisles.
2. Talk about what you are seeing and doing:
First, we're going to buy some cereal. See, it's in a big red and blue box. Listen to the great noise it makes when I shake the box. Can you shake the box? Now we're going to pay for the groceries. We'll put them on the counter while I get out the money. The cashier will tell us how much we have to pay.
3. Let your child feel the items you buy--a cold carton of milk, for example, or the skin of an orange. Talk to your child about the items.
The skin of the orange is rough and bumpy. Can Rochelle feel the skin?
4. Be sure to name objects you see on a shopping trip.
5. Let your child touch a soft sweater or try on a hat or a mitten.
6. Find a mirror so he can see himself. Talk as you go.
Feel how soft the sweater is. Who's that in the mirror? Is that Andre?
7. Let your child practice his
on clerks and other shoppers on your outings.
8. Keep talking, keep moving, and let your child
In this store we need to buy some buttons. You can hold the cloth next to the buttons so I can find the right color.
Putting your toddler's hands in the right position can help him learn to understand your directions.
9. Leave for home before your child gets grumpy.
Shopping is one of many ways to surround children with meaningful talk. They need to hear a lot of words in order to learn to communicate themselves. It's particularly helpful when you talk about the -here and now- (things that are going on in front of your child.)
USE THE MAGIC OF PUPPETS TO STIMULATE TALKING SKILLS
Puppets can be fascinating. Children know that puppets are not alive. And yet, they move and talk like real living things. Children respond to puppets, and making your own puppet is quick and easy. With a little imagination your puppet can give your child a head start on tomorrow. Try making one at home.
What you'll need for your puppet are...
● An old clean sock
● Buttons (larger than 1 inch in diameter to prevent swallowing)
● Needle and thread
● Red fabric
● An old glove
● Felt-tipped pens
● Nontoxic glue
Now, here's what to do...
1. For a sock puppet - Use an old clean sock. Sew on buttons for eyes and nose. Paste or sew on a piece of red fabric for the mouth. Put a bow made from ribbon at the neck.
2. For finger puppets - Cut the ends off the fingers of an old glove. Draw faces on the fingers with felt-tipped pens. Glue yarn on for hair.
How to use your puppet...
● Have the puppet talk to your child.
Hello. My name is Tanya. What a great T-shirt you have on! I like the rabbit on the front of your T-shirt.
(change your voice when the puppet talks).
● Have the puppet sing a simple song (change your voice when the puppet sings).
● Encourage your child to speak to the puppet.
● Put finger puppets on your child to give him practice moving his fingers one at a time.
● The next time you want help cleaning up, have the puppet make the request:
Hello, Maria. Let's put these crayons back in the box and these toys back on the shelves. Can you get me the ball?
Puppets provide the means to talk to children in a non threatening or authorative manner, and that helps encourage them to speak more easily. Puppets can also help children learn new words, use their imaginations, and develop their hand and finger coordination.
Whenever you are stimulating children to speak, always remember...
● Children will make many mistakes when they learn to talk.
● Instead of correcting them directly, reply by using the right grammar. For example, if your child says,
Michael done it
Yes, David, Michael did it
● Speak slowly and clearly so the child can imitate your speech.
● Use full, but short sentences, and avoid baby talk.
TODDLER ACTIVITIES FOR LARGER MUSCLES CONTROL
Toddlers love to explore spaces and climb over, through, and into things.
What you'll need for this activity are...
● Stuffed animal or toy
● Large cardboard boxes
● A large sheet
● A soft ball
● A large plastic laundry basket
Here is what you do!
1. Pillow jump. Give your toddler some pillows to jump into. Toddlers usually figure out how to do this one on their own!
2. Box car. Give your toddler a large grocery box to push around the room. He may want to take his stuffed animal or toy for a ride in it. If the box isn't too high--you'll most likely find your toddler in there, too!
3. Basketball. Sit about 3 feet away from your toddler and hold out a large plastic laundry basket. Let him try throwing a ball into the basket.
4. Table tent. Cover a table with a sheet that's big enough to reach the ground on all sides. This makes a great playhouse that's particularly good for a rainy day. Watch out for bumped heads!
5. Jingle bells. Sew bells onto elastic that will fit comfortably around your child's ankles. Then watch (and listen to) the fun while he moves about or jumps up and down.
These skills help children gain control over their large muscles. They also help children learn important concepts such as up, down, inside, outside, over, and under.
Article Source - U.S. Department of Education.
Live And Learn - giving children a head start on tomorrow!