How To Raise a Genius – Guaranteed!
The first years of a child’s life are the most fun and exciting to watch and foster. The field in which we work to study and foster that growth is called early childhood education. Early childhood is the period of life from infancy through to age eight. There have been many programs and countless philosophies on how best to bring out the natural talents, strengths, and gifts in children during this formative stage to ensure you raise a genius!
We’ve prepared this fun and engaging article (over 600 words) to prepare you to become more familiar with the different developmental stages of childhood. We hope to inspire you to use our fun and unique activities to help children to further develop as the wonderful people they are meant to be.
Who doesn’t like to have fun? One of the most important parts of working with children is to always remember to make it as fun as possible – for everyone involved!
The notion of a developing child is simple: it is how children become more advanced in the various areas of life. We expect children to develop normally, but as you know, there are many opinions about what normal looks like. For the purposes of this article, when we refer to normal childhood development, we are talking about developing skills such as:
1. Motor skills (big and small muscles)
Gross motor skills where children use their large muscles to sit, stand, walk, run, etc., keeping balance, and changing positions.
Fine motor skills is the child’s ability to use small muscles, specifically their hands and fingers, to pick up small objects, hold a spoon, turn pages in a book, or use a crayon to draw, to eat, to write.
2. Cognitive development (brain power)
This is the children’s ability and growth of skills to learn, solve problems, understand and interact with the world around them through the interaction of genetic and learned factors. Among the areas of cognitive development are information processing, intelligence, reasoning, language development, and memory.
3. Social development (interacting with others)
This is the stage where the children learn what behavior is acceptable and expected in an environment, the ability to interact with others, including helping themselves and self-control, having relationships with family, friends and teachers.
4. Emotional growth (feelings)
This is the child’s ability to deal with, manage, express and control their emotional states, including anger, sadness, excitement, anxiety and joy.
5. Creative growth (limiting nature)
Creativity is the mental ability to think creatively and using one’s own imagination to create new ideas, to be original, reform old ideas, develops a new business idea, composes a piece of music, paints a new painting or designs something new and innovative.
What is motor development?
Learning to move is one of the most important aspects of developing as a young child. We need to discover how our bodies move and interact with the world around us: every from learning to grasp a fork in our hands to putting food in our mouths without poking ourselves with said fork. If these skills are not learned in early life, they may never develop – or at least, they will not develop to the capacity in which they could have, had they been learned years earlier.
Sequence has a lot to do with our success learning motor control: one skill must be learned before another skill can be mastered. There are three stages of motor skill development:
- Developing maturation
- Building on prior experiences
- Experiencing new motor activities
We’ve broken this down into an easy-to-follow chart so that you can see where children are supposed to be, in terms of motor skills, at any given time in their young life. Remember that while every child is different, experts use milestones to determine a child’s development capacity and range.
Average Age of Motor Skill Development
Motor Skill Development Expected
|2 months||Child is able to lift head on his own|
|3 months||Child can roll over|
|4 months||Child can sit propped up without falling over|
|6 months||Child is able to sit up for prolonged periods without support|
|7 months||Child begins to pull himself up and can stand holding for support|
|9 months||Child can begin to walk with support|
|10 months||Child can stand alone for short periods of time|
|11 months||Child can stand alone with confidence|
|12 months||Child can begin walking alone without support|
|14 months||Child can walk backwards without support|
|17 months||Child can walk up steps without much support|
|18-24 months||Child can walk up steps without support|
|3 years||Child can walk/run up/down stairs independently|
|5-8 years||Roller-skating, bicycling, other sports-related activities|
Smaller muscles develop only after the larger ones have taken hold and children learn to do bigger movements before learning to do smaller movements with success. It can become easier for a parent to recognize what skills a child is ready to take on by studying what they have already mastered: if a child can walk up and down stairs with support, provide opportunities for children to walk without support so that those finer muscles can begin developing. Some children are “motor driven” and curious about everything while others are “motor cautious” and will take more time to develop skills.
Gross Motor Development
Gross motor skills rely on the use of the large muscle movements. Little people use large muscle groups to crawl, creep, roll, skip and run. Parents can encourage activities which involve balancing, agility, coordination, flexibility, strength, speed and endurance to enhance their current skills and foster the development of emerging skills.
Fine Motor Development
Fine motor skills can take a longer time to develop than gross motor skills. Some children can take years to understand how to grasp a pair of scissors while others get it right away. Practice makes perfect and toys are the best way to engage your child’s fine motor skills development. Smaller toys which require finger holding, instead of hand holding are good for developing fine motor skills. Coloring with crayons is always a good activity to develop fine motor skills: learning to stay in the lines! Small muscles help us and children reach, grasp, hold, push and spin items in our hands.
Perpetual Motor Development
Human perception affords us the ability to know or to interpret information from our environment. We use our motor skills to interact with the world around us and determining what is happening around us allows us to determine which motor skills we need to use and when.
There are six basic categories of perpetual motor development to be aware of regarding childhood development:
Gross motor activities (locomotor)
These include rolling, crawling, walking, skipping, jumping & landing, hopping, running, leaping, galloping and dodging.
These include spinning, balancing, dancing, skipping, and jumping.
Visual motor activities (Manipulative)
These include more advanced motor skills such as catching, throwing, kicking. This is also responsible for helping children identify and keep rhythm.
Auditory motor activities
These include the ability to understand and carry out verbal instructions and to differentiate among a variety of sounds. Children process information about language including singing, rhymes and chants.
These include interpreting information and responding on both sides of the body, one side of the body, and across different hemispheres of the body (top and bottom/ left and right).
This is important for motor skill development: children need to be able to visually place themselves within an environment and understand their body’s relationship to their surroundings.
So why is motor development important?
Research continues to show us that improved perceptual motor development can positively affect a child’s academic performance. It helps to enhance a child’s ability to find solutions to problems, respond appropriately for their expected age development, learn how to work with others, learn and understand the importance of sharing, learn to express themselves more clearly, be more creative, improve self-confidence, develop physically stronger muscles and refine motor skills even further. But most important, children with developed perceptual motor skills have the ability to practice divergent thinking: fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration for success.
How can you develop motor skills?
Here are a few suggestions for helping children develop motor skills in several levels. You can try them all or mix and match to help your children or student move along even faster in their development.
Gross Motor Development
- Practice throwing or kicking a ball at a target.
- Play a game of hopscotch.
- Jumping up and down in water.
- Climbing a set of stairs or ladder.
- Practice skipping in place and in forward motion.
Fine Motor Development
- Place blocks in smaller holes.
- Build objects with blocks.
- Assembling puzzles.
- Connect the dot drawing activities.
- Gluing shapes to paper
- Tracing and coloring
- Create a card to practice writing or tracing skills, cutting and pasting
Howard Gardner, of Harvard University, presented a theory on several distinct types of multiple intelligences. These intelligences vary across persons and the strengths to which each person has the ability to tap into those strengths has is what makes us unique from each other. Our ability to speak, reason, hear, move, see, interact with others and be self-aware are all affected by our cognitive abilities.
The below model is a simple grid illustrating the seven Multiple Intelligences.
Capability and perception
|Linguistic||Words, spoken or written|
|Logical-Mathematical||Logic, reasoning, numbers|
|Musical||Music, hearing, sound, rhythm|
|Bodily-Kinesthetic||Bodily movement and physiology|
|Spatial-Visual||Images, vision and spatial judgment|
|Interpersonal||Interaction with others|
|Intra personal||Self-awareness, self-motivated|
There is further evidence from Mr. Gardner, that suggests three additional types of learning abilities including naturalist, spiritualist, and moralist. Naturalists have an improved ability to understand and perceive nature and the environment around them; spiritualists are more Intune with life, death and ultimate realities, and moralists are bound by greater ethics, the idea of humanity and the values of life.
Suggested activities to improve bodily movements.
- Play the game of Simple Simon Says (can help to develop the linguistic intelligence)
- Children use their bodies to form alphabets (can help to develop the linguistic intelligence)
- Children dancing to a rhythmic music (can help to develop the musical intelligence)
What is cognitive development?
Cognitive development refers to a person’s ability to grow and learn, understand and interact with the world around them. Our individual cognitive abilities depend on many things including our genetics and environment. Several areas of cognitive development are of concern for development children including information processing, intelligence, reasoning, language development, and memory retention.
The below grid depicts the stages of cognitive development in children, according to the Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Heath.
Stages of Cognitive Development
|1 month||Watches person when spoken to.|
|2 months||Smiles at familiar person talking. Begins to follow moving person with eyes.|
|4 months||Shows interest in bottle, breast, familiar toy, or new surroundings.|
|5 months||Smiles at own image in mirror. Looks for fallen objects.|
|6 months||May stick out tongue in imitation. Laughs at peekaboo game. Vocalizes at mirror image. May act shy around strangers.|
|7 months||Responds to own name. Tries to establish contact with a person by cough or other noise.|
|8 months||Reaches for toys out of reach. Responds to “no.”|
|9 months||Shows likes and dislikes. May try to prevent face-washing or other activity that is disliked. Shows excitement and interest in foods or toys that are well-liked.|
|10 months||Starts to understand some words. Waves bye-bye. Holds out arm or leg for dressing.|
|11 months||Repeats performance that is laughed at. Likes repetitive play. Shows interest in books.|
|12 months||May understand some “where is…?” questions. May kiss on request.|
|15 months||Asks for objects by pointing. Starting to feed self. Negativism begins.|
|18 months||Points to familiar objects when asked “where is…?” Mimics familiar adult activities. Know some body parts. Obeys two or three simple orders.|
|2 years||Names a few familiar objects. Draws with crayons. Obeys found simple orders. Participates in parallel play.|
|2.5 years||Names several common objects. Begins to take interest in sex organs. Gives full names. Helps to put things away. Peak of negativism.|
|3 years||Constantly asks questions. May count to 10. Begins to draw specific objects. Dresses and undresses doll. Participates in cooperative play. Talks about things that have happened.|
|4 years||May make up silly words and stories. Beginning to draw pictures that represent familiar things. Pretends to read and write. May recognize a few common words, such as own name.|
|5 years||Can recognize and reproduce many shapes, letters, and numbers. Tells long stories. Begins to understand the difference between real events and make- believe ones. Asks meaning of words.|
|SOURCE: Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, 5th ed.
and Child Development Institute, http://www.childdevelopmentinfo.com.
Parents can enhance or hinder their child’s intellectual development through environmental factors. They can provide stimulating learning materials and experiences from an early age, read to, and talk with their children, and help children explore the world around them. As children mature, parents can both challenge and support the child’s talents.
Although a supportive environment in early childhood provides a clear advantage for children, it is possible to make up for early losses in cognitive development if a supportive environment is provided at some later period, in contrast to early disruptions in physical development, which are often irreversible. Studies associated with children living in foster care lend to the theory that children can improve their cognitive developments later in life, as well as children who take it upon themselves to learn more as they get older.
Theory of Cognitive Development
Jean Piaget, one of the most influential and exciting researchers in the area of child developmental, presents two major aspects to child development theory: the process of coming to know what we know, and the stages children move through as they gradually acquire this ability to learn.
Piaget’s theory of cognitive development relies on a method of questioning and answers: parents can ask questions of children and then change the way they are doing things based on feedback from the children. Educators also use this theory, although today it is more widely known as needs analysis and learner assessment.
There are four stages identified in the theory of cognitive development :
Stage 1 – Concrete operational stage (Seven to twelve years) During this stage is characterized by the appropriate use of logic and systematic manipulation of symbols related to concrete objects. Important processes during this stage are :
Stage 2 – Pre-operational stage (Two to six or seven years) During this stage, the child learns to use and to represent objects by images, words, and drawings. Intelligence is demonstrated through the use of symbols, language use matures, and memory and imagination are The child is able to form stable concepts as well as mental reasoning and believes in magic and fantasy. Thinking is still egocentric, illogical and non-reversible and the the child has difficulty taking the viewpoint of others.
Stage 3 – Sensorimotor stage (Zero to two years) This has 6 stages and intelligence is demonstrated through motor activity without the use of symbols. Infants gain knowledge of the world from the physical actions they perform on it. Knowledge is limited here but developing as it is based on understanding of the world by coordinating sensory experiences such as seeing and hearing with physical and motor skills. Some symbolic (language) abilities are developed at the end of this.
- Seriation – the ability to sort objects in a logical series according to size, shape, or any other characteristic.
- Transitivity – the ability to recognize logical relationships among things in a serial order, and perform ‘transitive inferences’ (for example, If Mary is shorter than Jane, and Jane is shorter than Ann, then Mary must be shorter than Ann).
- Classification – the ability to name and identify sets of objects according to appearance, size or other characteristic, including the idea that one set of objects can include
- Decentering – the ability to find a solution to a
- Reversibility – the ability to understand that numbers or objects can be changed, then returned to their original state such as 2 + 4=6 and 6 – 4=2
- Conservation – the ability to understand quantity, length or number of items is unrelated to the arrangement or appearance of the object or
- Egocentric thought
Stage 4 – Formal operational stage (12 years to adulthood) is the final of the periods of cognitive development in Piaget’s In this stage, intelligence is demonstrated where individuals move beyond concrete experiences and begin to think abstractly, reason logically, handle proportions, algebraic, manipulation and draw conclusions from the information available, as well as apply all these processes to hypothetical situations.
Many of today’s pre-school and primary programs are modeled after Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. Discovery, learning and supporting the developing interests of the child are the primary instructional techniques related to this theory. Many experts recommend that parents and teachers challenge the child’s abilities, while being sure to not present material or information that is too far beyond the child’s level. This can be discouraging. It is also recommended that parents use a wide variety of concrete experiences to help the child learn and exposure to a variety of environments can help a child place themselves in society.
Play is essential to the development of a child’s cognitive abilities: while it looks like time is just passing without much happening, children’s brains are soaking it all in trying to make sense of the toys, colors, items, tasks in front of them. Children from all over the world engage in their own type of play and parents and caregivers, as well as educator’s encourage it to help them learn about the world around them.
Play enables children to make sense of their world and those who live in it; they can develop social and culture understandings as well. Children can express themselves through play and they’ll learn to engage in flexible thinking and divergent thinking – which can carry them through their working world as well. Children can find opportunities to solve problems and work with others – team building – without even realizing they are engaging in important societal functions.
Suggested activities to develop cognitive development in children.
Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is two-fold: first, children learn through discovery. It is a process of finding out about the world around them and then using that information to help guide them through life’s decisions. The second part of Piaget’s theory refers to the fact that knowledge comes from making meaning of our experiences and how we interpret those experiences.
The easiest way to for parents to encourage their children’s cognitive development is to ask questions. Remember, to teach effectively, parents must ask questions in a variety of forms and frequently.
Asking children questions such as why, what, where, how, when, and what if to pose a question is an effective way to harness a child’s natural curiosity and further develop their thinking and cognitive skills. Parents can teach and guide children to take charge of their own thinking by discovering new subjects and interests, and then encouraging children to find out as much as they can about those subjects and interests. Discovering the ins and outs of a topic or interest is a great way to develop self-directed learning skills in your child as well.
Here are a few starter questions for parents wishing to engage their children in learning:
- What would happen ..?
- How can you find out?
- Can you think of another way to find the solution?
- What is happening?
- How would you feel ..?
- What do you think the problem is about?
- What else can you use?
- What comes next?
- Tell me how you found the solution?
When you use questions such as those listed above to engage children in their learning, they can learn to think for themselves, establish links or relationships between what they already know and a new topic they are learning about, gain confidence to explore topics on their own, learn to classify items and subjects, and make associations between things like color, animals, tasks, and responsibilities.
Children can also learn to sort logically by shape, size and many other characteristics. Other important things that can be learned through questioning is the association of numbers, recognition of symbols and environmental associations, determine spatial relationships and understand time and space…literally.
Questioning children can also help them learn more abstract concepts like problem solving, riddles, reversibility of numbers and letters, and grouping.
Language plays a key role in the interpretation and analysis of a child’s world. Without language and the developing language skills, a child would have no way to understand what is coming at him or her or what is expected of him or her. Language gives us the ability to express ourselves in both a receptive and expressive way. Receptive language allows us to listen and understand, while expressive language allows us to make our point in a variety of ways.
Developing Receptive Language: parents can try some of the following tasks to help develop a child’s receptive language skills.
- Give specific directions. “Please sit near the table.” instead of “Please sit over there.”
- Encourage the child to ask questions and answer appropriately. Rephrasing the child’s lastsentence into a question “You drank what? Say it back to them.
- Give instructions in a sequence. “Brush your teeth, then rinse with this cup of water. Then wipe your face”. Parents can also ask their children what they think they should do next. This helps with language logic.
- Encourage your children to think out loud. “What do you think will happen to the snowman after winter?”
- Don’t forget about written language: read and write as much as possible to help children develop those skills too!
- Listen and pay attention when your child is talking with you and do not to rush them. They are working through what they are trying to say and may become overwhelmed by being rushed.
Developing Expressive Language: parents can try some of the following tasks to help develop a child’s expressive language skills.
- Listen for words – children’s first words are often “ma-ma or pa-pa.” Praise children for using their words and encourage them to do it more often.
- Simple grammar – parents can help their children by communicating with them in simple sentences as they are listening to learn
- Use elaboration – as the child’s language develop, their language expand through description, narration, explanation and communication. Ask questions for more information and to keep your child engaged in conversation.
This simple chart shows a guideline for measuring language outcomes in developing children. Keep in mind that every child is different and no two children develop in the same way. This chart is taken from Bowen, C. (1998). Ages and Stages: Developmental milestones for receptive and expressive language development. Retrieved from http://www.speech-language-therapy.com/devel2.htm on February 16, 2016.
Receptive Language Skills
Expressive Language Skills
|Birth||As soon as we are born we start to learn language. Every baby is aware of the sounds around him/her. Without realizing it, babies come to know their parents’ voices and react with cries to noise or things that have startled them. They listen intently to new sounds as they appear.||Babies use sound, such as crying or cooing, to let you know they are happy, sad, in pain, or something is wrong.
|0 – 3 months||Within the first three months of life, babies will start to turn toward sounds and smiling at their parents. Babies at this age can recognize some sounds, especially their mother and father’s voice. They look around frequently to see where the sounds are coming from.||Babies at this age can smile at familiar faces or sounds within earshot. Generally, children are very happy and coo quite often, so parents know when something is wrong because a baby will switch to crying; especially if they are hungry or are in pain.|
|4 – 6 months||By age 4-6 months, babies will start to understand short statements such as no. They can pick up on changes in tone and sounds around them. Generally, children at this age enjoy toys that make lots of sounds and play music. They may appear apprehensive of nervous of new sounds until they can identify the source.||Babies will start to experiment with vocal play at this stage. They will make noise all day and can generally occupy their time with cooing and gurgling. You’ll swear your baby is talking up a storm but they are really just exploring their tongue, mouth and figuring out how to make it all work. They can change the pitch and tone of their voice to signal for an urgent issue as well.
|7 – 12 months||Children coming up on one year old can usually speak several short words such as mummy, daddy, car, toy, cat, dog, no, yes. They like to play interactive games accompanied by singing such as pat-a-cake. They can also understand small requests such as asking if they want more water.||Here, the sounds your baby is making will change. They will start to use a variety of sounds, including smaller words. They can use words, instead of crying, to get your attention.|
|1 – 2 years||Children begin interacting with things like pictures in a book, and can comprehend the connection between you reading and the images they see. They can also understand their body and can point to parts like arm and leg. They especially love to point to their nose. They enjoy listening to simple stories and love to hear their parents’ voices. They generally want things repeated several times, but this is so they can grasp what they are hearing.||Everyday your baby is gaining more momentum in her word use. She can start to express short questions like what that? Each day, words become more clear and sentences start to form in some ways. Consonants are hard for children but they learn control their verbiage with each day that passes.|
|2 – 3 years||Toddlers at this stage can understand commands and longer phrases. They can speak more clearly and can express dislike or happiness with words such as hot, no, yucky, yummy. They recognize the car starting, the doorbell ringing and the phone.||Vocabulary is growing every day. Children can express a word for almost everything they see. You can generally have a simple conversation with children of this age range and others understand your child more clearly now. They are quite expressive and like to use words like wow!|
|3 – 4 years||This is the age when questioning starts and while most parents are excited by the constant talking, others are exhausted from it! Who, what, when, where, how, why why why is how your day will be filled. Children are figuring out the world around them and they want an answer for everything.||Children can now express themselves using longer sentences and more than four or five words at a time. They will start to tell you about their day and may start to develop interests in things outside of the home. Speech is generally very clear and they can talk to others easily now. Sometimes children stutter to try to find the words, but this can pass with time and learning.
|4 – 5 years||Children will start to tell their own stories at this age. They can question more easily and answer questions more easily. They understand things around them and understand the relationships between home, work and school. You child’s ability to hear should be clear, but you can consult an expert if you are in doubt.||The words come easily now and children in the 4-5 year range are fluent in their language. They talk and talk and talk. They can become heavily involved in a subject and are beginning to read for visual language understanding. Children still have difficulty with “r” and “v” and “th” sounds, but otherwise, their vocabulary is coming along nicely. They’ll start to add more “ly” sounds to their vocabulary as well.
Ideas to Help Develop Language Skills in Children
Children learn by playing: that’s just natural for them. They learn to become creative, make up and pretend, create stories, and develop social skills. Children also learn to problem solve while playing too; for example, if a child is playing and a toy falls off the table, the child will figure out that they need to pick up the toy in order to continue playing.
Parents can encourage children to playing with building blocks, explore books, sing or make up songs. You can create meal plans with your child and introduce new food words to them. Try playing “I spy” with your children and find one new item a day that you didn’t talk about the day before. Clap your hands and make lots of noise: these ideas will you’re your child’s interest and they’ll discover expression through body movement. Ask lots of questions about everyday things: meals, shopping, dressing, bathing, playing, driving, working…
Sometimes children have a hard time understanding what is expected of them at home and in public. This can lead to meltdowns and frustration for both child and parent. The more exposure children have to the world around them, the more prepared they will be to take it on and deal with the stresses and rewards of social living. A lot of parents start baby groups from the first few weeks after birth to start socializing their babies (and to get some socialization themselves!) This is a great way to get in the habit of taking your child into the world, a little bit at a time. Don’t be surprised when children don’t get along: they need to learn boundaries like everyone else.
Social learning teaches children how to participate and get involved, they learn how to interact with others, share and cooperate as well. They can learn to take turns and follow rules, as well as question the rules. They learn to deal with difference and become accepting of differences. Children help each other and encourage each other…they can also get mad from time to time – they are only human, after all! Children will learn to manage conflict, bit by bit, as they become more socialized.
Typical Stages of Social Development in Children
The following table gives a general indication of how children should progress in their social development.
|2 years||Social awareness is very limited. They like to play alone but are closely observing and copying adults and other children. Direct interaction is minimal, apart from squabbles over toys!|
|3 years||They start to have some interaction – playing alongside with other children. Beginning to learn how to share materials, equipment, other children, friends, teachers and ideas. How to take and wait for their turns. Beginning to learn to handle physical aggression.|
|4-5 years||Children start to learn to co-operate as they play in groups. ‘Special’ friendships begin to form, having a group identity (Ms Mary’s group). Learning how to play fairly and abide by rules. Learns how to take part as a team and not as an individual. Begins to learn to be assertive and to ask others to stop if they are being disturbed.|
|5 – 6 years||Learning how to solve conflicts in ways other than retreat or force. Learns how to be helpful to other children with tasks and information or by modeling behavior. Interactive skills and how to sustain a relationship. Learns to communicate in verbal and nonverbal ways, when to talk and listen. Conversation skills developing: how to listen to others and take turns talking etc.|
Emotional growth is probably the toughest part of learning for any child. Learning to recognize and manage their feelings and emotions, especially when they are on high alert, is very difficult. The child’s ability to deal with, manage, express and control their emotional states, including anger, sadness, excitement, anxiety and joy can be further developed through exercises and work on the parents’ part. It all starts with talking about how your child is feeling regularly and dealing with feelings as they arise so that your child can become accustom to working through their feelings.
Erik Erikson, a Danish-American developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on social development of human beings, presents this chart on the emotional growth and stage development of children. Like all charts presented in this book, age ranges should be taken with a grain of salt: every child is different!
|Age Range||Emotional Development Capabilities|
|Infancy ( up to 1 year old)||Children are not capable of understand emotion at this stage in life, however, parents are encouraged to show much love, warmth, caring and affection to encourage trust and reliability with their children.|
|Toddler ( 2 – 3 years old)||Children begin to explore their surroundings. Parents must exercise patience and encourage such exploration. Restrictive parents can instill a sense of doubt so finding a good balance can help the child feel secure and confident. Self-confidence is the most important aspect of emotional development in a young child’s life.|
|Preschool (4 – 6 years old)||Children learn to take on tasks on their own and develop leadership and independent skills. They attempt risk-taking behaviors and will experience great frustrations as they determine what they can and cannot do at this point. Children are more likely to become aggressive, rude, yell and throw things when they don’t get what they want during this stage of development because they haven’t grasped self-soothing understanding fully yet.|
A child’s creativity can be what defines him or her in life. Children begin to develop a creative approach to life as soon as they start figuring out how to crawl out of their cribs, or how to reach an object that is too high. Creativity is our mental ability to develop ideas and thoughts, create new things or use old things in a new way. There is literally no limit to how create someone can grow to be. Parents can help develop their child’s creativity by exposing them to multiple outlets for their creativity: painting, drawing, music, dance, and games can all help to bring out your child’s creative side.
The hope behind helping your child to be creative is that they will define something new in their lives. Creativity is another form of making meaning that can following us throughout our lives and spill over into many other areas of our lives.
Creativity allows children to develop critical thinking skills. It encourages children to be flexible and develop fluent skills in an area that they have an interest. It also unlocks the potential of their imagination, in which anything is possible. And in today’s world, there aren’t many things a child couldn’t accomplish with a little imagination.
Here is a few ideas to help parents instill creativity into their lives:
- Role playing with hand puppets and pretend toys that help your children to tell stories and make-believe.
- Read. As much as you can. Read story books, nursery rhymes, poetry, the newspaper, grocery receipts: read everything to your children.
- Develop their musical intelligence by learning to play some musical instruments or sharing in the music you both enjoy. Pick out instruments or great lyrics to develop linguistic skills.
- Teach your child how to cook or prepare simple meals – preparing sandwich for lunch. Encourage them to taste new foods or come up with their own recipes.
- Ask your child to design a better school bag, or shirt, or car. Ask them to think of 3 things they like and dislike about their school bag and design a new kind of bag they or their friends would like to use and carry. Parents can guide them by asking questions like what color, shape and special features their design would have.
- Do word puzzles or graphic games in which children have to answer questions about what they see. This is a great way to get children thinking about what lies beneath the surface of a problem or issue.