How can you help your baby and toddler develop a brain that is ready to learn? During the first three years of life, the brain develops faster than at any other time in life. What your child is exposed to in these earliest years will help determine what sort of life-long foundation is built for learning. The role you play as parent or caregiver is crucial but not complicated. So, what does a young child need from you?
Talking! This is the simplest and yet, studies show, the most crucial thing your child needs for strong brain development. Just talking! The more language a baby and toddler is exposed to, the better the brain development. So, talk to your baby about everything! Tell them what you are doing, describe what you are seeing, tell them stories, recite nursery rhymes. The importance of this simple activity cannot be overstated.
Singing: Sing nonsense songs, nursery rhymes, opera, hip hop - it doesn’t matter! Rhythm and rhyme are great for brain development, and sharing music is fun.
Reading: Babies are never too young to be exposed to books. Board books are perfect for infants and toddlers. The thick pages are strong enough to withstand both baby hands and teeth! Choose books with simple, clear and colorful pictures, and single words or very simple rhyming text. Read together at least ten minutes every day. Cuddling your child during this time will create a very pleasurable experience of reading that will remain with your child even as they grow into adolescents and adults.Writing: As your child moves from infancy to the toddler stage, begin exposing her/him to alphabet books and books with colorful, playful text. Begin pointing out letters. Allow your child, with supervision, to draw and “write” with a fat crayon or marker. Pretend reading and writing are important steps in the development of a child’s literacy skill.
Bring your child to the library! (You knew we would say that!!) There is an abundance of materials and resources: storybooks for all ages, music, audio books, craft and activity books, kits, games, and puzzles. Look at our menu of programs for children of all ages, including our special story times and play programs for the very young.