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MAIN Arrow to Health Health Arrow to Kid's Health Kids Health Arrow to Child DevelopmentChild Development

Learning in the Early Years

Early Development in BabiesAs you watch your baby grow, you are delighted by every developmental milestone. The first smile, the first coo, the first time baby shakes the rattle, the first tooth... each of these events is greeted with wonder and pride by new parents.

You already know that raising a child is complicated and there are no perfect recipes or easy instruction booklets to follow. Just as you are a unique and a special person, so is your child. While there are some general time frames for when babies do certain things, they are only guidelines for the average baby...not rules.

When you read books and articles that say by five months your baby should be sitting and by two years of age your baby should be forming short sentences... you expect your baby to fit the standards. If your baby does these things earlier, you're convinced you've given birth to a genius. If you baby doesn't meet the deadlines, you worry...

As you watch your baby grow, it may help to know that some of the brightest adults waited until they were over two to start walking, and children who don't start talking until they are three are not uncommon and, generally, quite bright! All children focus on developing the skills that need to develop in the time frames that fit their own schedules.

"This is experimental science in your baby's world. It is a reasoning process developing... it's early learning and not a plot to drive parents crazy..."

Some babies will ignore the walking skills and focus on talking. Some do it the other way around. Watch your baby and you'll notice patterns. When your little one starts to work on turning over, the cooing will fade a bit.

When putting patterns of sound together to sound like Mom is a priority, most babies will forget about trying to learn to navigate their spoons to meet their mouths. One thing at a time is the approach that babies take to learning.

Babies love to learn and they love to practice new skills until the skills are perfected.

When your baby discovers that a bowl dropped from the high chair can be retrieved...it's a BIG discovery. It takes quite a bit of mental growth to understand that there are levels - different planes - ups and downs in the world.

It's also amazing for a little creature with a very short attention span to grasp the concept that something that disappears from sight...still exists!

Baby drops the plate...it's gone forever...and magically reappears! Baby drops the plate again to see what will happen...it magically reappears! Baby does it again...and begins to suspect that it might not be magic. This is something that needs to be investigated. Baby does it again...and again...and again...

This is experimental science in your baby's world. It is a reasoning process developing... it's early learning and not a plot to drive parents crazy.

After what may seem like a million time of dropping the plate to see what happens, your baby will reason out that there is a space that the plate moves into - that it is outside of baby's immediate space. The plate disappears into that space, but it still exists...and it can be made to come back into the immediate space...big leap of reasoning there!

Did you every wonder why "peek-a-boo" is such a thrill for your baby? You disappear - as far as baby is concerned - if you're out of sight...you're gone. Then you reappear. The same learning as the plate dropped from the highchair is going on...and your brilliant baby thinks it's fantastic! No problem with getting three month olds to do homework. They will repeat a lesson until it is theirs forever without any coaxing. It may even seem impossible to get them to stop once they start working on a skill!

So, read all of the articles and books to learn what to expect and when to expect it. Then with that as a background, accept that your baby is not average...and may not feel obliged to meet the deadlines the experts set. If you have concerns, by all means talk them over with your baby's doctor, but don't let the fact that Suzie walks three months before Johnny get you upset.

Talk to your baby, play with your baby...smile and laugh and enjoy the process as much as your little one does. Recognize that EVERYTHING your baby does is about learning. Try to be as excited as baby when you bend down to pick up the plate for the fiftieth time or walk up and down the stairs for the thousandth time. Remember that your baby will learn to walk and talk when the time is right for YOUR BABY to develop those skills. Encourage the learning, but don't push it.

Be patient, keep learning fun and your baby will have the best foundation for success in walking, talking, school... and life!

 

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