Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why music makes you smarter

I often talk in Kindermusik class about the role that music plays in stimulating the cognitive development in young children. The sequencing and pattern awareness for the finger plays and various dances encourage brain development in even the youngest students. With that in mind, let's take a look at what kind of cognitive skills should you expect from your infant and how to enhance them.
A typical baby that is under 6 months old will already be playing with rattles. Your baby will also explore objects or their own hands, feet, etc. by mouthing them. This is simply an effective way for them to understand the various sensory aspects of this newly found object. Make sure to give them a variety of safe and creative objects to explore with you. Young babies also enjoy repeating newly learned activities, and even as young as 2 months old, you may see excited anticipation during this playtime. It's a great time to introduce finger play rhymes while facing your newborn. Allow them to examine your face as you sing to them. Your little one is also learning to soothe at the sound of your voice, so sing a favorite lullaby to comfort or rock your child to sleep. I hope you enjoy this very special time of bonding with your newborn.

Until next time,

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Terrifically, tumultuous twos

We've now reached the second year in our journey through social milestones of young children. Most people associate this age with the infamous "terrible twos". Life can be quite tumultuous when you're two, but it doesn't have to terrible. Armed with the right information and skills, I think any parent can turn this phase of development into the "terrific twos"!  Here are a few things to expect:
  • Your two year old will begin to enjoy a wider range of relationships, but he will still feel strongly possessive of his family.
  • His growing imagination may cause him to develop sudden fears that were not there before.
  • Frustration tantrums peak, as does clinging and whining. However with patience and proper guidance, you will see greater independence and less separation anxiety as they approach their third birthday.
  • Your child will begin to understand and respect simple rules around this age.
  • He will enjoy playing interactive and circle games, such as "Ring Around the Rosey".
You can encourage your child's confidence and obedience during this phase by giving him opportunities to choose something related to the trouble area. For example, a child who is not wanting to go to bed could be offered a choice of which bed time story to read before going to sleep. I hope you'll leave some of your parenting ideas for this age as a comment below. Just remember that patience and consistency are your keys to making this stretch of road the "highway of terrific twos"!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Growing to greatness!

Toddlers- Such a tiny package of humanity, and yet so full of emotion, energy, creativity, and curiosity! It's an exciting time of increased imagination and emotional awareness. At 18-24 months old, your toddler will likely begin some early pretend play, such as acting like a favorite animal or using a banana to try to brush their hair like mommy does with her brush. Due to this increase in imaginative skills, parents may also see the first signs of night mares and "monsters under the bed". 

It's a great time to begin group activities with your child, if you haven't done so already. At this stage, your toddler is much more aware of other children and will interact with words and gestures while playing in a group setting. Your toddler is also beginning to discover more types of emotions, such as jealousy, sympathy, guilt, and fear. That makes this a great age to begin talking about body language, facial expressions, and the feelings that go with them.

•Grab a mirror for some face making fun.

•See who can find different facial expressions when reading a book.

•Talk about how you or your child feels and why. This will give them a better understanding of healthy emotional expression.