Thursday, December 22, 2011

Teaching your one year old toddler

What can an one year old learn? Well, I'm not an expert in this area but here are what I do with my one year old boy:

1) Talking to him
I guess many mothers know the benefits of talking to their babies or toddlers, but many are too lazy to practice it as they seldom get a response. I must admit that I need to put more efforts in this area too, and I have definitely neglected my boy since most of my time are with my elder daughter.
I listed this as the number one point as I find it the most important activity among all, and I have seen many of those speech advanced kids with talkative parent(s).
Many parents think that babies or young toddlers can not speak, thus can not learn, this mentality is very wrong. Babies or young toddlers can not speak, but they do learn, especially from the parents or whoever spends most of the time with them.
Do not be discouraged if your kid is not responding when you talk to him, he is most probably inputting the knowledge to his brain and he will speak to you when it is time.
What to talk to the baby or toddler? This was a problem to me when my girl was still a baby, as I was not a talkative person. So I talked to her on what we see on the way home, on the TV program, on the books or the toys she was playing, anything I could think of.
My girl is currently 2 years 8 months old, she is not very advance comparing to other kids, but she do chat with me, e.g. "mummy where (are) we going?", "Go there buy what?", "You want to go?", and etc, sometimes I feel that she has really grown up.

2) Reading books
We visited library almost once a week, as library is conveniently situated at shopping centre which we will go for our dinner every weekend.
My girl does not really like reading books, but my boy can pay more attention to books. I borrow many baby books like those 'touch' books, flap books or pictorial books for him.
I guess boys have more curiosity and like to explore around. Sometimes I see him touching the books, flipping the pages or opening the flaps. There was once he pointed at a banana and said "nana", or saw a dog and said "whoaf", and the most funny part is he said "mum mum" when he saw food.
If your kid likes book, give him more!

3) Playing toys
There are many good toys around that you can let your kid plays. I believe strongly young kids learn from playing and not from formal learning environment. They have short focus span, do not expect them to pay attention for more than 15 minutes!
This is why I introduce my fun class to my girl, while learning an alphabet, I mix the lesson with craft work, song, dance, and colouring, you may refer to here for my fun classes.
Other good educational toys would be jigsaw puzzle, ABC magnets or games, big blocks, shapes sorting, musical toys and etc.

4) Flashing cards
Flash cards are definitely beneficial to your kids, but a lazy mother like me would do it lesser. Research has shown that kids can pick up many words (even thousands!) if you repeatedly flashing a group of cards to your kid. I do not doubt that kids have excellent memory on repetitive learning, but this is something which I do not enjoy doing, I thus do it lesser.
If you have the time and would like to improve your kid's memory, go ahead and do it! However do enjoy the process and do not emphasize on the outcome, as it takes time for the kid to show you the result, at least after he can speak :)

5) Watching DVD
Watching TV might not be a good idea, but if you control the time your kid spend on TV, educational DVD can be a good choice. I have let my kids watched Leap Frog series (my girl picked up ABC there), Your Baby Can Read, and Wordworld.
They do pick up new things from TV, but I try to reduce the time they spend on TV, as many young kids are wearing thick glasses nowadays, and I definitely do not wish my kids to be part of them.

6) Don't forget outdoor!
Learning is not restricted to just books, don't forget to bring your kid to outdoor!
There are many places your kid can have fun, places like Zoo, farms, beach, swimming pool are great for the kids to explore! Even if you're bringing your kid to shopping, don't forget to check the directory as many shopping centres has outdoor playground and water play, which include NEX at Serangoon, IMM at Jurong East, Shembawang Shopping Centre at Sembawang and North point at Yishun.

7) Singing or dancing
Many kids like listening to music and dancing, I have not seen any kid that does not like it. My girl would dance whenever she heard music when she was just few months old, I thought my boy would be different, but he is not.
My boy likes music too, he will also sing and dance when he hears the music, just like his sister:

My girl also picks up words from the nursery songs, now I let her listen to Chinese nursery songs and she can now sing "三轮车" and "我的朋友在哪里?"

8) Anything
When I say anything it is really anything. Anything can be a learning material to your kid. It can be something that they see everyday, e.g. my girl would use the TV remote control as her handphone and pretend talking to someone, she plays the coins in her piggy bank and learns 10, 20, 50 cents while my boy will put the pen cover on his finger and play around with it, he also craws in and out the carton box which I made it into a house.

Besides the list above, there are also many things you can do with your kid, e.g. scribble on the drawing board, craft works like origami, playing balloon and etc. Whatever they do, they will learn something, and believe me, anything can be interesting to them, it needs not burn a hole in your pocket :)


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