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Bright From the Start
Tytuł oryginalny Bright From the Start
Autor Jill Stamm
Dodane przez ♂rafar (★)
Rok pierwszego wydania 2008
Tagi dziecko, wychowanie, porady, mózg dziecka, mózg
Rok pierwszego wydania 2008
Tagi dziecko, wychowanie, porady, mózg dziecka, mózg
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Three overarching concepts should guide everyday interactions between you and your child: Attention, Bonding, and Communication. Attention refers to the ability to use the brain’s energy to pay attention, which we have recently learned is partly wired as early as age one. Face-to-face interactions and certain kinds of play can help children attend better and longer. Many technologies, on the other hand, threaten a child’s attention span or steal time from more valuable live interactions. For kids under age two, TV, videos, and computers are posing a special risk. Bonding develops security, the cornerstone of normal brain development. Touch, for example, is now known to release brain chemicals that impact attachment. Discoveries about how bonding influences very primal parts of the brain means that choosing infant child care should involve different considerations from choosing care for a toddler or preschooler. Communication includes understanding speech, learning to talk, and activities that will later influence learning to read. Given what’s been learned about the fascinating principles the brain operates on, there are many ways you can “prime the pump” for speaking and reading. Supporting your child in these three areas provides the foundation that’s necessary for successful future learning and development. You’ll learn everyday ways to do this. Little things really do add up.
You can help wire a healthy brain by: • Spending one-on-one time loving your child • Playing with your child • Responding quickly and predictably to your child • Touching and cuddling with your child • Providing routines that establish patterns of caring response • Talking to your child • Reading and singing to your child
Inadvertently developing a natural preference for technology. Our routine use of phones and electronic gadgets means that these devices become a part of the child’s everyday reality. It also endows these items with a certain allure. Because they’re part of the “givens” in the child’s world, right from the start, the brain’s organizing schemas about that world include these gizmos. A toddler doesn’t naturally prefer to spend time in front of a screen over time outdoors at the playground, nor tapping a plastic keyboard instead of manipulating sand. But when he sees his parents always online, his brain registers this as a normal activity that he wants to be a part of, too. Kids learn to a great extent through imitation, so it’s not surprising that today’s two-year-olds may ask their parents for a computer. It’s not that they understand how it works and truly desire their own iMac as a learning tool or a toy, even though parents usually interpret such a request this way. (“Wow! Mikey’s so advanced! He wants a computer!”) The child simply sees it as a normal and therefore desirable part of life so that they can do what you do. One of the dangers is that this natural preference takes away from other kinds of varied experiences that might better hone the developing attention system. What you can do: Today’s children pick up an understanding of technology on their own; you don’t need to teach a young child how to use gadgets in order for him to be techno-savvy later in life. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with Katy having a toy cell phone “just like Mommy’s” or a starter computer with a bright baby keyboard “just like Daddy’s.” Pretend toys allow your child to follow her interests, and in playing with these items she explores how to copy what you are doing. But in general, today’s parents have to be especially vigilant about providing a wide variety of play experiences for a child, in indoor and outdoor settings, and using natural materials as well as toys with lights and whistles. For a baby or toddler with a fledgling attention system, a varied, naturally stimulating environment is essential. The value of learning to match pairs of socks while folding the laundry, which requires him to keep the sock he is searching for in mind while ignoring the other similar socks and pieces of clothing (and the conversations you’ll have while doing so—“Where’s the other fuzzy, blue sock?”), is likely greater than all the hours he could spend in front of the flashing lights on a learning keyboard.
Here are six factors you can use to initially capture your little one’s attention: 1. Intensity The brain takes note of great contrasts, paying more attention to extremes (like a booming voice or a quiet whisper) than to the midrange. For example, if you want to get a child to really listen, it’s often more effective to whisper softly. This change of tone from your ordinary speaking voice will gain attention. (Classroom teachers know this well, which is why some of the most mild-mannered instructors are able to wield good class control.) Attention to contrasts in intensity is true not only for sound, but for vision as well. Young babies will pay closer attention to objects that have clear, deep, or sharp contrasts than to those objects that are pale, blended, or very busy. Research on vision has shown that before six months, high contrast colors like black and white, or red and black and bright yellow, are best to attract and maintain a baby’s attention. Try it: An older baby may prefer picture books with bold, simple, clear images (like the Maisy books) to very complex and busy drawings (say, Beatrix Potter’s pastel Peter Rabbit paintings). See the effectiveness of using a whisper the next time you talk to your child as you change his diaper—especially if he’s at the wiggly stage, the first time you try this he may stay still long enough for you to get the job done! 2. Size The brain takes note of very large things and very small things more than things in the middle. It notices the very tall man, the tallest building, the giant elephant. It also notices the smallest speck of lint on the black suit, the tiniest kitten in the litter, the small water spot on the glass table. Kids immediately show us, by their reactions to what they see, that size matters to them and gets noticed. Try it: Provide toys of different sizes, such as stacking blocks or stacking rings. Very large or very small stuffed animals and books also tend to attract a child’s attention. A particular favorite of mine are the decorative “nested dolls” where the largest doll opens in half to reveal an identical, but smaller doll. That doll opens to reveal a yet smaller version and so on until you reach the very tiniest one! Note: Be careful to never leave your child alone with this activity as the very small dolls represent a severe choking hazard. 3. Novelty Novelty is so important that it rises to the level of one of the basic “operating principles” of the biology of learning in general. We’re wired to respond to the new. Brains attend most carefully to new objects, sights, sounds, or people as a survival mechanism. What we typically note as curiosity is, in fact, the need of the brain to make sense of every new experience. On a primal level our brain is making an initial “friend or foe” assessment. What is this new item? Can it hurt me? Can I eat it? Can it entertain me? Once the brain assesses that the stimulus is safe and won’t cause personal harm, the biological process of habituation begins. The neurons actually reduce the number of sensory branches they’ve sprouted and in a sense “relax” the need to explore that input further. Once the thing has been “categorized,” however, attention moves quickly on to the next novel thing. That’s a young brain’s job, to figure out the importance or meaning of everything. For a newborn, nearly every event is novel, because it’s happening for the first time! So eager are young infants to zero in on what’s new that by the time they are several months old, they will have already “figured out” their immediate surroundings. They can tell right away when something changes: Mom gets a drastic haircut, dad wears glasses for the first time, furniture in a room is rearranged, a new mobile is hung. Your baby will stare longer than usual at a fresh sight—or in the case of the drastic haircut, may even become distressed until they figure out you’re still the same mom! Try it: You don’t have to run to the toy store every week to stoke the fires of freshness. You could simply rotate toys, recycle them in different areas of the house, hang different objects from an infant gym, trade basic baby toys with friends, or even move pictures around your house. You can take walks and point out both new and familiar things along the way. Introduce new foods, a few new people—by varying life’s experiences you capitalize on a brain’s need for novelty and therefore cause more learning to occur. Voila! You’ve provided the next new thing. 4. Incongruity “One of these things is not like the other” has a familiar ring to parents who themselves were reared on Sesame Street. Even if you only watched occasionally, I’ll bet you can hear the music of that ditty playing in your head as you read these words. These lyrics describe the concept of incongruity—it’s the thing that does not fit; it does not belong because it is not the same as everything else around it. A kindergarten teacher introducing the letter “P” might first slip it into a row of already-familiar letter Cs and wait for her students to notice it. (It won’t take long!) Try it: If you want a baby to notice a new food, for example, put it in the middle of lots of things that match and presto, it will be the first thing investigated! Toddlers find a sock placed on Daddy’s head to be uproariously funny because it does not belong there. 5. Emotion Emotional events as well as the feelings that we experience in everyday situations are stored to a greater degree in our brains than is random information. A brain is configured to assess the importance of incoming information and to pay greater attention to emotional content. Emotion drives attention and attention drives memory. This important statement shows that emotions are central to allocating enough attention for learning to take place. When you are nervous, worried, afraid, depressed, agitated, or upset, it’s difficult to focus on learning. Our emotional state affects our ability to pay attention. Researchers are beginning to understand that for effective learning to occur, the conditions for learning need to engage a learner’s positive emotions and their focus of attention. Conditions for learning are optimal when you are able to be relaxed and yet alert. Try it: You can use this knowledge to your advantage in many ways, from birth. A newborn who is sleepy or hungry is not ready to play (and therefore learn). Playful interactions work best when a baby has been fed and changed, is rested, and enters a quiet, alert state. Or, if you were trying to teach a sixteen-month-old about toothbrushing, you’d make better headway by using her beloved teddy bear as a prop. She has positive associations with the teddy, so demonstrating the use of a brush on him can make this chore easier to accept than if you were showing it as a strange new thing isolated from any strong positive emotions. 6. Personal Significance Each of us pays closer attention to things that are directly related to us and to our sense of well being. Have you ever had the experience of being in a crowded, noisy party, engaged deeply in conversation with someone right in front of you, when suddenly, from across the room, you hear your name mentioned in some completely different conversation? You laser in on your name though it seems to have come out of thin air. Because the other people are talking about you, it matters and you pay attention! Anything with our name associated to it, on it, or about it has a greater importance to us. Kids especially love to see or hear their own name. Hence, the popularity of so many child-oriented products with monograms or names painted, stenciled, or stamped. (And hence the keen disappointment of the child with a rare or uniquely-spelled name who can never find his moniker on those souvenir cups, pencils, and key chains sold in gift shops and museum stores.) Self-interest is central to our very survival. Otherwise boring information, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles Rules of the Road, takes on great importance if you happen to be turning sixteen, precisely because those rules of road now have personal significance if you want to pass your test to get your driver’s license. Try it: Your child will be more attentive to a story you’re reading if you change the main character to her name. Childcare directors know that a toddler gets excited about putting her coat or papers in her cubby (and therefore learns to do it when asked) because it’s her space, with her name on it; some parents use this trick at home, especially in a family with many members.
Why are so many kids today thought to have attention-deficit problems? I think two sources explain a large portion of this gap between hereditary cases you could expect and the actual reported cases. Both of these scenarios may be examples of the environment of a child influencing whether a particular genetic tendency gets expressed or not: 1. The early, unintended training of the attention system—especially for short hits and bits of information, a byproduct of the information age. This training comes from several sources, including a new trend toward too much television in children younger than two and a half years old. Also TV viewing by adults and older children requires rapid-fire shifting of attention, which is witnessed by the infants and toddlers who live with them. (See also: Chapter 5, “Screen Time.”) 2. Demands on the brains of boys for academic skills they are not cognitively ready for. ADHD is diagnosed three times more often in boys than in girls. There are gender differences in the sequence of the development of certain brain regions, particularly those used for some school skills. For example, language areas of the brain needed for early reading and the fine motor areas needed for writing follow a different, and usually earlier, trajectory in girls. This makes it easier for a girl to accommodate to the noticeable acceleration of academics that’s now become common in many preschools and kindergartens than it is for a boy, whether he’s genetically predisposed to attention difficulties or not.
If your baby could tell you what she wanted to see most, she would say, “Faces!” Everything else pales next to those bright eyes and moving mouths, coming in close to express reassurance, smiles, and love.
Deborah Stipek, Ph.D., finds that children make up their minds about whether they like school or not by the end of their first year’s experience. That “take away” message, she reports, remains stable over a lifetime!
The mirror neuron system develops naturally in healthy infants, as babies automatically engage with their caregivers and the world around them. As parents and caregivers, we can use the fact that they are naturally drawn to the face to teach them about the world and to teach them how to pay attention. Perhaps as part of their ability to understand the actions and intentions of others through the mirror neuron system, babies learn that paying attention is one of the things that adult humans do! Some easy examples of everyday interactions that teach this: • Play peekaboo. The first times you try this simple interaction the “boo!” comes as a total surprise to your baby. But as he begins to associate the “boo!” with your big smile, he will begin to mirror this smile back to you. • “Open wide!” When feeding your baby solids, have you ever opened your mouth as you lift the spoon to hers? You’re trying to elicit a mirror neuron kind of response in her! • Wave bye-bye. Demonstrating this for a child helps her imitate the physical action and, eventually, learn the “why.” At first, your child will wave indiscriminately, copying you without connecting the wave to the fact that there’s an appropriate occasion for it. For example, you may wave bye-bye to Grandma and then go in the house; a few moments later while you’re talking about Grandma’s visit, your baby opens and closes her fist. Quickly, though, a child learns to wave bye-bye when someone is leaving. From simple imitation, she picks up on using this gesture in the right context. • Sit and read. Even a child under twelve months learns about “reading” through imitation. You don’t have to read the actual words of the story; simply pointing to various pictures and talking about the colors or animals on the page does the trick. Soon you will see your child take a book on her own and imitate you, pointing to the pages and making gibberish sounds. Later she may sit with a doll or her teddy bear and “read” to her friend in the same way you read to her.
Some ways you can foster joint attention: • Label objects. As you begin to teach word labels of objects by pointing to and naming them as you naturally go through your day, first establish eye contact with a child, if even for a fleeting moment, to assure that he is “with you.” • Point as you read. When you read picture books together, look at something on the page and point to it. By looking and pointing together, you’re conveying to your child, “This is where I’m looking, and if you look there too, you’re going to see something interesting!” • Point out sounds to share too. You can also practice sharing attention through what you hear. For example, say, “What do you think that noise is? Is it a bird? Let’s
If your child tends to avoid eye contact and does not look at you when you call his name, should you worry? Both are certainly behaviors to watch. Your pediatrician will likely be talking with you about whether your child is meeting developmental milestones, but you as a parent can watch for signs in three main areas: social skills, communication, and behavior. Of particular concern is autism, a developmental disorder that is diagnosed in about one in 500 children, with some recent estimates reporting numbers as high as one in 150 children. The average age for diagnosis is three years, but doctors believe there are reliable indicators before eighteen months. A list of these, below, comes from First Signs, Inc., a national nonprofit organization dedicated to education about the early warning signs of autism and other developmental disorders. If you have concerns, do not hesitate to discuss them with your pediatrician; make sure to also get a formal audiological assessment to rule out hearing difficulties that may underlie communication deficits. Let your pediatrician know if you notice your child has: • No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter • No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter • No babbling by twelve months • No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by twelve months • No words by sixteen months • No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by twenty-four months • Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age
The science says, “Practice makes for reduced energy needs and for connections to be made with less effort, thereby saving energy for other learning and refinement.” No wonder Grandma shortened the idea to, “Practice makes perfect!”
Best First Game: The Crossing-the-Midline Game (0-6 months) “Tracking” activities—following an object with the eyes—and other experiences that cross the midline of the body help wire the brain effectively by connecting the two hemispheres of the brain. “Crossing the midline” refers to the ability to move one’s eye, hand, arm, or foot from its natural field on one side of the body to the other.
Directions: • Hold your baby in your lap on his back. • With the rattle eight to twelve inches above your baby’s head, slowly shake it up and down or from side to side. Each of these rattle movements will make a sound. • Say, “Shake.” • Slowly move the rattle from side to side. • Pause to see if the baby’s eyes have “locked on” to the rattle. • When you think he is focused on the rattle, slowly move it from his left side to his right side. Watch to see if the baby becomes disengaged at the “midpoint.” This is not unusual. • Shake the rattle a bit to “reengage” the baby’s eye contact, and then continue moving the rattle to the baby’s far right. • Repeat this tracking game. As you do this kind of “crossing the midline,” your baby can begin to better connect the two hemispheres of the brain. • Praise him and have fun!
Here’s a great tummy-time activity for pre-crawlers: • When your baby is alert and awake, place her on her tummy on a blanket or mat on the floor. • Position a baby-safe (unbreakable) stand-up mirror upright on the floor in front of your baby’s head, using the stand attached to the backside of the mirror. (You can buy these mirrors where toys are sold; my favorite is the Manhattan Toy company’s Color Burst Mirror, edged in fabric of many patterns and colors. If you can’t find such a mirror, place the baby in front of a well-secured, floor-to-ceiling type wall mirror at ground level.) • Encourage your baby to lift her head to see herself in the mirror. If you have a mirror with a colorful border, encourage her to look at this too as you talk and describe the bright colors. • Talk to your baby using very slow, expressive language: “Look at the preetty baaaby.” Continue talking while interacting with your infant.
Functional Play (0-3 years) First, a young child learns how the world works and how things function, discovering the principles of physics (things don’t roll uphill, how gravity works when she tosses things from her highchair—repeatedly, how much water will actually fit into the container without overflowing onto the floor). The ways kids learn these concepts is by manipulating their environment: stacking and knocking down blocks, digging in the sandbox, playing in water, pushing toys, running and jumping. Older babies and young toddlers also begin to play with books. After being “eaten” and having their bindings loosened through rough treatment, some books become favorites that a child “reads” memorized favorite sections of, imitating her parents reading to her.
Pretend Drama (2-6 years) Children learn about social roles through pretend and dramatic play. They learn and prepare for life’s dreams through the use of costumes and dress-up clothes (store bought or mom’s and dad’s castoffs, as well as old sheets and other household objects), and such playthings as puppets, stuffed animals, dolls, and toy dinosaurs. As long as it is child-directed, there are lots of opportunities for adults to play a part, such as acting out stories in different voices or reversing roles (“I’ll be the daddy and you be the baby, Dad.”). Let your child help in daily chores, which for your child serves as a another kind of play as she learns a variety of adult roles (setting the table, sweeping, putting a letter in the mailbox). This is an age when kids love to do anything that lets them “try it on for size.”
Constructive Play (4-6 years) Using objects and materials to build something is a dominant form of play in many preschool and kindergarten classes. These play activities should be child-directed and adult-facilitated (provide the materials and the time). Turn-taking is learned through the collaborative nature of constructing almost anything.
Games-and-Rules Play (5 and beyond) This stage of play focuses on social and emotional skills through cooperative play with others. To understand pre-established rules, young children need to have developed memory skills in order to be able to recall and recognize rules/cues, and be able to accept and conform to those rules. Old classic board games like Candy Land provide a good place to start to learn rules and turn-taking.
Despite this glaring omission: • In a typical day, 69 percent of children under three years watch television. • Forty-three percent of kids under two years old watch every day. • On average, babies six months to three years spent one hour watching TV and an additional forty-seven minutes using computers, videos, and video games each day. • More than one in four children under age two have a TV in their bedroom. • In most households, the TV is on for seven hours and forty-four minutes a day. • One third of children three or under have used a computer. • Sales of “developmental” videos and DVDs produced for infants and toddlers added up to $1 billion in 2006, according to The Washington Post.
Three popular lines of thinking help explain these facts. Unfortunately none has science on its side. 1. “The first twenty-four months are so critical to the architecture of the brain, why not give them maximum stimulation?” The ironic side effect of recent discoveries about the brain has been the unfounded line of thinking, especially by clever marketers but also some by educators, that since the brain cells are multiplying in these first years, let’s stimulate the heck out of them! Bombarding a growing brain with screen stimulation doesn’t make a very young brain smarter, by any measure we have. 2. “I’m not sure but why not try everything just in case it helps my child get ahead in school?” I call this the “just in case” approach, which many understandably confused parents adopt. Unfortunately, not only is there is no proof that media stimulation has any benefit to a developing brain, but there is also not a clear understanding of what too much early media exposure may be inadvertently doing. The fear is that the same kinds of exposure that might be beneficial, or at least harmless, in a school-age child is actually causing negative things to happen in an infant or toddler’s brain—and we may not realize those consequences until years later. 3. “Hey, I watch it and I’m okay.” The most compelling new research tells us that how screen media influences adults, for better and for worse—and even how it influences kindergarten children—is different from its impact on the developing brain of a baby or toddler. Sesame Street did not, we now know, bridge the knowledge gap and skills gap for many children of low income in America as was hoped. Nor, I’m afraid, can the new generation of “smart media” live up to its claims. Let’s sort out the science from the popular wisdom and see how you can be both realistic and yet smart about screen time and your child.
For every hour of TV viewed per day before age three, his 2004 study reports, a child is 10 percent more likely to show ADHD symptoms at age seven (as reported by the parents according to a standard assessment index). This study did not show a direct cause-and-effect relationship between TV time and ADHD. We still don’t have all the answers as to single or aggregated causes showing why ADHD rates are rising in these children. But the study does warn us of a potential association.
from this body of research, we’ve learned that excessive television viewing is linked to: • Weight problems. Kids who watch the most TV or who have a TV in their rooms are most likely to be overweight or obese, numerous studies have shown. A 2003 study by The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation reported that kids under six spent as much time with media as they did playing outside. The more time children of any age spent with media, the less time they have available for more active pursuits. • Fears. Kids ages two to seven are unable to distinguish fantasy from reality well and are more likely to be frightened or upset by violent or scary things they see on TV. • Aggression. Children who watch violent action-adventure programs have been found to have more behavior problems in schools than those who watched more pro-social programs.
The most interesting part of the design of this 2005 study was that the infants were either read stories by a person or watched a video recording of someone reading the stories. One of most important findings of the study showed that the babies only learned from live exposure to the sounds—not from the recorded (video) exposure.
We also know that when kids are occupied with passive watching, they themselves are far less active. By definition, if they spend more time with characters on TV, they have less time to grow close to and connect to the people and “characters” in the next room . . . their parents and siblings!
Let’s recap the good reasons to hold back on exposure to media—including TV, videos/DVDs, and computer games—in the early years: • There is no scientific evidence yet as to whether the mesmerized young baby who is sitting in front of a “Baby Whatever” video is either benefiting—or harming—the attention centers of her brain. • Meanwhile we do have proof of more effective ways to engage, shift, and hold a young child’s attention: talking in an engaging way, playing in easy interactive ways, pointing to and labeling things in the environment. Each of these activities does have research to verify its effectiveness for encouraging learning. • Automatically turning to media as a babysitter or plaything sends the message that the screen is a desirable thing; it’s best to keep TV as a neutral thing in the background of your child’s life for as long as possible. • Time spent in front of a screen is time a baby or toddler isn’t doing something else more valuable.
For children older than two, the AAP recommendation is no more than two hours total per day of any combination of high-quality, educational screen time.
“What you say will speak to your kids. What you do will scream to them.” —OLD SAYING
What Behaviors Do Secure Children Demonstrate as They Grow? 0 to 6 months: An infant’s developing attachment to his primary caregiver causes him to smile and make eye contact that expands from a few seconds to a few minutes. During this period, a baby is fascinated by his parent’s face and makes happy noises to attract and hold his parent’s attention. 7 to 9 months: A baby usually begins to experience stranger anxiety. While this may seem like a contradiction, stranger anxiety confirms the strength of a baby’s attachment to the parent. It’s this attachment that defines everyone else as a “stranger.” Babies demonstrate stranger anxiety by becoming upset when someone new approaches, usually clinging closer to the parent for reassurance and perhaps even crying. Without a strong attachment to a primary caregiver, there are no strangers; everyone is of equal emotional importance or unimportance. 9 to 15 months: Most children experience separation anxiety, which emerges from the baby’s growing awareness that she is a separate person from her parent. Like stranger anxiety, it’s a testament to the strength of the child’s attachment to her primary caregivers. A range of behavioral reactions may be seen. Some children cry in protest and cling to the parent; others temporarily withdraw from the world until the parent returns; still others protest by becoming angry and aggressive. While these behaviors may seem troublesome at the moment, they are proof that the work of attachment has proceeded normally to this point.
Your child’s brain forms basic associations from birth. For example, he quickly learns to make a connection between discomfort (hunger; the cold wetness of a dirty diaper; loud, sudden noises) and the relief he experiences when some caring adult quickly responds to a cry and solves the problem. He builds into his brain a pattern that predicts, “When I am hungry, someone will feed me.” Or, “When I am cold, someone will warm me.” Or, “When I am distressed, someone will comfort me.” Searching for patterns among experiences helps the brain organize the flood of incoming sensations. The goal: To better predict what will happen next. Being able to make such predictions—including predicting whom you can count on and whom you can’t—is key to survival. Basic trust boils down to the brain determining, “This person behaves in a pattern, and I recognize that pattern. Because I know the pattern, I can have some control and know what is likely to happen to me.”
Rather than spoiling your baby, your quick, responsive care actually diminishes crying because the infant learns to detect a pattern of caring response. Reacting to your baby swiftly, lovingly, and consistently therefore produces a positive connection of response to a real need, not spoiling.
Here are just some of the nonverbal cues you can read in your baby and use to guide your interactions: • Turns head away: “I’m tired of playing now, leave me alone.” • Smacks lips: “I’m getting hungry.” (Tip: It’s best to feed your baby when she shows these early signals of hunger; by the time she’s bawling, she’s overly agitated and more difficult to calm.) • Coos: “I hear you talking and I’m talking back. Say something else, Mom!” • A shift from relaxed “latched-on” eye contact to a look of concern and an overflow of body movements: “I’m feeling anxious and concerned; something is happening . . . what’s going on?” • Freeze mode (awake but not moving arms and legs at all—eyes shifting): “I’m really afraid and confused.” 2. Understand Your Baby’s Temperament No two babies are alike. Some are more difficult to soothe than others. One baby will seem serious and watchful much of the time, another more sociable. Although your baby’s behavior is in part shaped by his experiences, it’s also shaped by the temperament he was born with. Temperament is the set of inborn, quite stable traits that your child displays. These traits are thought to be “hard-wired” into the brain. They are apparent almost from birth, and tend to stay with a person all through life. How a person’s temperament interacts with their upbringing is what creates a unique personality. It’s useful to think about temperament in raising your child for several reasons: • Simply knowing that your child has a unique temperament, right from birth, helps you avoid guilt or blame when your baby doesn’t behave exactly as you would like. • Understanding your child’s individual temperament allows you to adjust your interactions with him accordingly and parent more effectively. • Recognizing that you, too, were born with a unique temperament can also color your parenting. Some parents “fit” with their child more easily than others for this reason.
Here are just some of the nonverbal cues you can read in your baby and use to guide your interactions: • Turns head away: “I’m tired of playing now, leave me alone.” • Smacks lips: “I’m getting hungry.” (Tip: It’s best to feed your baby when she shows these early signals of hunger; by the time she’s bawling, she’s overly agitated and more difficult to calm.) • Coos: “I hear you talking and I’m talking back. Say something else, Mom!” • A shift from relaxed “latched-on” eye contact to a look of concern and an overflow of body movements: “I’m feeling anxious and concerned; something is happening . . . what’s going on?” • Freeze mode (awake but not moving arms and legs at all—eyes shifting): “I’m really afraid and confused.”
Research has shown that massaging an infant fifteen minutes a day can help a baby: • Reduce colic and/or crying • Sleep more easily • Gain weight better • Make better eye contact • Ease pain associated with teething and constipation • Reduce the stress responses to painful procedures (such as getting a shot)
The sheer amount of words spoken to a child from birth to three has a direct impact on later testable IQ. Imagine that! It doesn’t matter what you say, or in what language. Whether you’re just talking about what happened to you at work that day, or reading the words from a book, all kinds of spoken words count!
Compare three sample interactions: Mom 1: Okay, Crystal, let’s eat. Mom 2: Okay, Paulie, it’s time to eat our lunch. Let’s see what we are having? Yes, let’s have carrots. Mom 3: Okay, Teryl, it’s lunchtime. Are you hungry? Mommy is so hungry! Let’s see what we have in the refrigerator today. What is this? It’s orange. Could it be peaches? Could it be apricots? Let’s see!! See the picture on the jar? That’s right, it’s carrots.
Opportunities for everyday talk exist all through your house. A researcher at Arizona State University, Billie Enz, Ph.D., is an authority on early learning and pre-literacy, and she suggests these ideas for taking advantage of talk opportunities: Bedroom Talk • Talk about toys’ colors, textures and special features: “Wow! Look at how Tickle Me Elmo is moving!” • Label and describe clothes, talk about their color, style, and textures. “Today we are wearing a warm, wooly sweater because it’s cool outside.” • Sing songs, such as the Barney “Clean Up” song, as you pick up the room. Bathroom Talk • Label and describe what’s happening during a bath: The slippery soap, warm water, bubbles in the water, the tickle of having toes washed. • Talk about water toys in the tub: The duck floats, the cup pours, the fish toy squirts. • Sing bathtime songs, like “Rubber Ducky.” Family Room Talk • Read storybooks. • Occasionally watch children’s videos together and discuss the characters: “Which Teletubby do you like best?” “What color is he?” “Can you dance like that?” • Ask your child to pick up toys by describing them: “Jose, please pick up the toy that has four blue wheels.” Kitchen Talk • Describe the food you are preparing: Color, texture, smell, and taste. • Talk about how small you are cutting the pieces, how the food is cooked. • Narrate what you’re doing as you set the table. • Let your child play with kitchen goods such as wooden spoons, pots, unbreakable dishes, or measuring cups and spoons: Talk about their relative sizes and the sounds they make when you tap on them. • Demonstrate using “please” and “thank you” while sharing food at the table.
Children’s early attempts to use sentences need thoughtful support, not critical correction. You will hear many “mistakes” mainly because of the trial-and-error way that the child’s brain is working to decipher language. (The development of mouth muscles to form various sounds is another factor.) Parents can best support their child’s attempts to communicate through what linguists call “extensions and expansions.” Extensions include responses that incorporate the essence of a child’s sentence but transform it into a well-formed sentence. For example, when a child says, “Ree stor-ee,” you can respond, “Do you want me to read the storybook to you?” When parents and caregivers use extensions, they model appropriate grammar and fluent speech—helping to extend a child’s vocabulary. Expansions gently reshape the child’s efforts to reflect grammatically appropriate content. For example, when your child says, “We goed to Diseelan,” instead of correcting her (“We don’t say ‘goed,’ we say went”), you can expand her language by initially confirming the intent of her statement while modeling the correct form, “Yes, we went to Disneyland.”
Hearing problems can be caused by reasons other than ear infections, such as a congenital problem. Caught early, problems can be worked with so they don’t overly interfere with language development. Some signs to watch for: Birth: Doesn’t startle or cry to loud noises Doesn’t stop moving or crying to voices 3-4 months: Doesn’t turn toward sound 5-6 months: Doesn’t notice you until seen 6-7 months: Prefers vibratory sounds Doesn’t babble or repeat sounds 12 months: Hasn’t said simple words: Mama, dada, bye-bye 2 years: Speech is hard to understand Doesn’t repeat words you say Any age: Doesn’t respond when called Hears some sounds but not others
Play While You Read (6 months and beyond) You’ll enrich the reading experience—and cause your child to attend longer—if you have a little fun with it: • Be enthusiastic. Don’t use a monotone. Make it seem like there’s no place else you’d rather be, and no more riveting story than the one right in front of you. • Give the characters different voices. You don’t have to give an Oscar-worthy performance. Simply changing the pitch, accent, or pace of your reading adds helpful variety. • Put on a “play.” Creative dramatics is informal dramatizing with no printed script or memorized lines. Pick a familiar story, such as a fairy tale or favorite book, with dialogue and action—characters who say and do something. Props are optional. For example, you and your child can pantomime the bowls, chairs, and beds in Goldilocks and the Three Bears, or pretend a chair is the bridge and a stuffed animal is the troll in The Three Billy Goats Gruff.
first word (eleven to fourteen months), stringing together two words (sixteen to twenty-two months),
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♂rafar (★), dodano 2013-09-14 13:37:54
Książka ma już 6 lat a wciąż brak polskiego wydania :/