Our infants are consistently provided with important stimuli for encouraging development! Each baby is treated as an individual who learns at his/her own pace and is influenced by family, nutrition, heredity and culture. Building relationships and rapport with infants is of utmost importance to an infant’s emotional growth. When caregivers interact, talk, play, and smile with a young child, they positively stimulate social and emotional development. Meeting children’s needs, like feeding, rest and diapering, promotes trust which is the foundation for growing secure behaviors.
All infants learn by exploring, observing and sensing the world around them. They play with age appropriate toys like balls, rattles, soft blocks, musical toys and books. As they handle and manipulate the objects, they are exploring, using their senses, and learning about how things work.
Other ways that children under 18 months of age learn are through:
– Simple actions like playing on the floor with movable objects (cars, balls, etc.): This promotes cognitive development as the child learns, with adult guidance, how a ball or toy car can go fast if pushed through cause and effect motions.
– Large blocks and climbing toys placed in the room: These promote physical development as young children use these objects and their developing muscles to pull themselves up. Mastering this skill eventually leads to taking those first steps!
– Directly talking to and engaging young children: Looking directly at an infant and using your voice promotes language development.
– Offering sensory experiences: Providing children with sensory experiences like painting with materials that are safe to ingest, touching various surfaces like sand paper, and listening to various music instruments expand their learning opportunities.
We know that it is imperative that love and attention are available to meet infant’s needs during the early stages of development! This formative stage will assist in determining a child’s characteristics and the way she/he will function in the world. Every moment with an infant is a learning moment; make it positive and engaging!