Brain Training For Babies And Into Early Childhood
A Quick Guide To Understanding How Young Children Think
Once your baby can talk as fluently as you can and is able to run about and climb trees and occasionally outrage you it can sometimes be easy to think of them as a mini adult who just lacks experience. But children are not mini adults. In some ways, they are smarter than adults but they remain different from adults in important ways sometimes right up through puberty. For many years to come to your child will appreciate your help in using the reasoning part of their brain to calm the more primitive emotional parts when they are frightened or upset. Your baby knows that the robe on the chair is not really a monster but their powerful imagination and intense emotions cannot be reined in by reason. By all means, explain calmly that there is nothing to be afraid of and encourage your child to try to calm themselves through reason that does not be surprised or impatient if they do not succeed. Your voice your gaze and your cuddles are still crucial to helping them settle their brain chemistry in moments of crisis. Talk about emotions that they or other people experience either in reality or in stories. Rehearsing inner experience can be a first step towards being able to master impulses as well as helpful in the development of empathy and moral behavior.
How Young Children Think
Children Learn By Paying Attention To Everything At Once
Many children become quite fascinated by analyzing emotional reactions. Once your child has a good understanding of what we mean and when we talk about the various emotions you can try to teach them ways of dealing with their impulses. For example you can teach them to take a few deep breaths when they are feeling angry or to sing themselves song or tell themselves a story when they are feeling impatient. A leading child psychologist has described children’s consciousness as being more like a lantern glow than a torch beam. To a great extent children learn by paying attention to everything at once rather than focusing narrowly on the task at hand. Almost any parent hurrying to get out of the house gets frustrated when their toddler stops to investigate the smell of their new shoe laces or whether they can slide felt tips under the bathroom door or the feeling of their woolen sleeves once they have been dipped in the washbasin. In contrast adults close down their attention to information and ideas that are not relevant to the practical goal of the moment. Children may feel all the time a bit like we feel when we are in a strange city and we have nothing in particular to get done or no particular route to follow and can make little sense of much of what we see. On the other hand we feel acutely sensitive to and enthralled by all the new sights smells and sounds around us. Try to love and share their wonder even if right now their lack of focus is driving you crazy.
Imaginary Friends A Sign Of Loneliness
Is It Normal To have An Imaginary Friend
In the past parents and psychologists have speculated that having imaginary friends might be a sign of loneliness social ineptitude or some other psychological problem. In fact it turns out that children who have imaginary friends are in the majority and are actually more likely to be extroverts than children who do not. On the other hand children who watch a lot of television or read or have read to them a lot of stories are rather less likely to have imaginary friends. This difference suggests that stories and imaginary friends may play a similar and an indispensable role in the development of a child’s mind. They probably help them to develop a deeper understanding of the workings of the world and particularly the people in it by adding imaginary experiments to the practical ones they already conduct all day long.
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Physical Activity Is Good For The Mind
Though you might think that exercise is good for the body rather than mind it is, in fact, one of the things that we can be most confident will benefit your child’s growing brain. Exercise promotes blood flow to the brain and your child will be noticeably calmer and happier after a good run around. They will also be much readier to learn. Exercise outdoors is likely to bring other special benefits. Try to give your child the chance to play outdoors most days. Limit television time is a growing consensus that any amount of television is too much for children under two. Watching television is too passive. Television can teach bad behavior and may raise stress levels and damage attention span. It can also just waste time that could be used for more intellectually and emotional stimulating activities. Watching television seems addictive and the decisions over when to watch can trigger tensions between children and parents.
Understanding The Hard Work Involved
At around eighteen months your baby begins to understand that other people have different desires and preferences from themselves. Test your young child’s understanding as psychologists have long used the following false belief tests to find out how much young children understand about other people’s minds. We tend to expect children to use words as efficiently as possible and to get across their point but in fact, they show quite poetic enjoyment of the sound of words for their own sake and obviously enjoy their mastery of language.
Your Child And The Great Outdoors
Television Tips For Parents And Children
Make watching television an exception rather than a habit. You will avoid regular arguments if your child assumes that is not usually one of the possible options for how to spend the afternoon.
- Reserve using it for when your child is ill or when there is a family crisis and for one-off treats and times when you are desperate for an easy way to keep your child entertained.
- When you can watch with your child. Watching television can be a valuable experience if you can watch with your child you can freeze the action to discuss what is going on and to answer their questions. The program can be a reference point and source of conversation afterward.
- Look for programs with a slow pace. The rapid shot changes typical of modern shows scramble child’s brains and raise stress levels. Look for programs with long-lasting shots and a calm atmosphere.
- Use DVDs or recorded programs rather than live television. This will encourage both you and your child to be selective about what you watch and to use television at the appropriate moments rather than switching on at a particular time as a habit. This will also allow you to avoid adverts and inappropriate trailers.
- All television moves at a pace hard for children to keep up with. Re-watching helps them make sense of and properly digest what they watch.
- Look for shows that have lots of languages. Children find television graphics mesmerizing but there is little to be learned from them. Choose programs with lots of clear dialogue.
- Avoid violence as research suggests that even cartoons made for children really can encourage violent behavior
- Factual programs can be good. The striking visuals of a nature documentary, for example, provide a good foundation for conversation and learning about the natural world.
Reading To Your Child Has Many Well Known Benefits
Reading introduces your child to the wonderful world of books and the reading process which makes it more likely that they will soon be a voracious reader themselves. It is usually a calming activity and it strengthens the bond between you and your child. Above all, an imaginative experience is being discovered right at the heart of your child’s mental life during these early years.
- Children love stories and they should be the mainstay of story time. But nonfiction books for children can also fire the imagination. Not only can they provide a lot to talk about they can start building general knowledge and get your child used to the idea that finding out about the world is fun. Look out for example for picture or books about castles garden wildlife or costume through the ages.
- Look for interesting language. Choose books which use words that you do not use every day around the house. Also, do not worry about old-fashioned language. Your child is a language wizard and will simply add these unfamiliar words and constructions to their repertoire. It is good for them to feel comfortable with unfamiliar linguistic registers.
- Look at the pictures as well as the text. Even once you are reading longer books together choose ones with interesting illustrations. Bold simple stylized pictures are fashionable with publishers of children’s books but these may not be favorites with your children. Illustrations with lots of details are particularly valuable your child will be able to read the pictures to them before they can read the text.
- Choose books you will enjoy reading yourself. Do not be a martyr as you will be more likely to read often to your child if you do not find their storybooks crushingly dull. It is essential that you both enjoy the story and there is a huge choice of good books out there.
Read To Your Kids Regularly
Training your child’s brain is a process that takes time and your determination as a parent to stand strong and be consistent is the key to your success. There are many skills you can teach your child and while the stakes seem to be small right now you are laying foundations that will prove to be invaluable when the stakes become higher later in life. Knowing how to set goals and work towards them is essential for achieving what you want in life. If you give your child a chance to perfect their reading skills you will also help them develop skills and patience to work towards anything they want to achieve in life.
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