Your youngster uses all the contents of his environment to understand how the world works. These contents are generally objects that can be categorized by their sensory nature. An environment that caters to all of your child’s senses will ignite his perceptive abilities and capacity for physical, cognitive and creative development. Discuss your child's development with his pediatrician, who can give advice specific to your child.
From infancy on, sensory exploration aids in the physical development of your child’s mental and motor skills. In the book “The Scientist in the Crib,” psychologist Andrew Meltzoff writes that babies are born with a sense of human evolutionary progress that gives them ideas on how the world works. Giving your infant free reign with objects of different textures, colors, scents and sounds will foster creative, cognitive and physical development while instilling confidence in what she already knows.
Social relationships are important for behavioral, cognitive and emotional development in infants and toddlers. Through adult-to-child and child-to-child social interactions, children gradually learn to define social roles and identify the needs, values and perceptions of others. Child-to-child social playtime de-stresses your child by freeing him from perceived adult expectations. Because children are highly impressionable, Metlzoff notes that social interactions can easily alter the nature of your child depending on which qualities adults and playmates nurture in them.
Valuing your child’s imagination helps her learn about people, places and things that are not a part of her everyday life. Imagination is also a crucial tool in cognitive development and in the separation of fantasy versus reality, explains Dr. Jacqueline Woolley of the Children’s Research Laboratory. When it comes to developing reason in terms of reality and fantasy life, "you want to find a balance to let children be open to possibility but also to question," Woolley says.
Infants are so new to the world that all of their experiences generally aid in physical, cognitive and creative development. You can keep tabs on the development of your infant by monitoring his involvement with the objects in his environment. Reaching, grasping, sitting, pushing and crawling are all signs of motor-skill development. Toddlers and infants require physical activities that are also mentally challenging. This combination can foster the development of motor skills and problem-solving capabilities.
- The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About the Mind; Andrew Meltzoff, et al.
- KidsHealth: The Magic of Play: How It Inspires & Aids Early Development
- National Network for Child Care; Activities for Infants; Donna Wilber; February 1996