Every toddler has great potential, no matter the circumstances. Parents have the opportunity to enhance their intellectual development by doing some very simple, everyday things. It is about being a more thoughtful and purposeful parent with the time we have. Here are some easy ways to assist a toddler in developing intellectually.
Have the right toys
The right toys are not necessarily the most expensive and new toys. A child should have a set of colored blocks. It does not matter if they are just wooden blocks, connecting blocks, or cloth blocks.
Blocks begin as a tote, carry and toss kind of toy. Eventually they build and tumble. Later in life when it comes to graphing and math the blocks will be a familiar friend.
Stacking cups are a must have toy. It is not so important that they are stacked in any particular order. A toddler will find many ways to make the cups work for them. They can hide things under them, carry things and crash down towers made of cups.
Balls are a great toy for intellectual development. Children will watch a rolling ball. They will toss it in different directions. Have different sizes of balls so they can make comparisons.
These are all toys that serve the purpose the parent and child want to create. They are versatile. There is no wrong way to play with them. Toddlers “think” about what to do with them.
Allow independent play
A toddler needs a safe place for independent play. They need to have some unstructured play time all alone. They are rehearsing life skills. It is important to make sure they are not interrupted.
Toddlers enjoy being in the middle of a project. They enjoy seeing what is going on and often want to help.
Parents can enhance the experience by narrating the progress and talking with the child. It may sound awkward, but eventually it becomes second nature.
“I am going to chop up these carrots to put in the soup. I bet after I chop them you can put them in a bowl, if you want to help. What else do you think we should put in our soup? How about some green celery? What do you think of that?”
When the child becomes distracted and moves on to other things, don’t be concerned. Attention spans can be short.
Learning is sometimes a very messy process. It is important not to interrupt the child’s play too often to clean up. There must be a time to clean up, but be aware of proper timing.
Reading to a child doesn’t begin when they are old enough to hold a book. Many experts agree as soon as a woman knows she is pregnant, she should begin to read aloud. It is about cadence, language and expression.
Reading poems, stories and books to infants gives them bonding time.
When children begin to get old enough to participate, read in their style, at their level. Perhaps Identifying objects one time will be enough. In fact, it could take months before the child is ready to really hear the whole story. Just keep reading.
It is clear that the biggest investment in the child is time. A parent should never have to look back and say “I wish I would have spent more time with my child.”