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As your toddler grows, what approaches to learning should you adopt for him? Read this article to help you develop your toddler’s natural curiosity and learning skills.
At two years of age, toddlers are independent enough to know their minds. They are also curious, and show interest in their environment, in meeting people and learning new things. You can further fuel their natural curiosity by playing with them, and keeping them engaged with activities that promote learning.
Few Approaches you can Adopt to Help your Toddler Learn
At two years, toddlers develop a keen sense of observation. As they became more and more aware of their surroundings, they start watching and noticing things around them. Now is a good time to take your toddler to a park, zoo, beach, aquarium, etc. Not only will he be able to appreciate the things he sees, he will also show curiosity to know and learn about them. At home, make him familiar about day-to-day household things like kitchen utensils, clothes, etc. You will notice that your child takes a doll or a stuffed toy to the bed and puts a blanket over it, or places a doll or toy in his lap and makes it sleep in the same way he may have observed a grown up put himself to sleep. This is where he is using his observation power and imagination skills to engage in ‘pretend play’.
Just like his sharp eyes, a child’s ears are equally attentive. Your toddler might seem to be busy playing with his toys, but he is listening to all the conversations taking place in front of him. So take care of what you speak before him. On the other hand, it is a wonderful way of helping him learn. Talk to him about general things. For example, you can describe about some chore you are currently doing, describe a member of the family, friend or a cartoon character.
- Instead of talking to your toddler in baby language, use normal words.
- Try to talk slowly, so that your toddler can understand and pick up words.
- Do not laugh at him if he is not able to finish a sentence (remember at his age, it’s a great accomplishment for him to string a few words together) or pronounce words immaturely.
- Help translate his words to others, if required.
3. Questions & Answers
A toddler’s mind is like a sponge. He can absorb a lot of information and retain it too. But it also means he is a bank of questions. He is always coming up with a ‘why’, ‘what’ or ‘how’. It can be irritating and frustrating at times for parents to answer a string of questions, but take heart in the fact that your child is learning by asking all these questions.
- Ask your child simple questions regarding the activity he is doing. Let him answer you. This will not only ignite his reasoning skills, but will also prompt him to ask similar questions to you.
- Never drive away your child even if you are too tired to answer his questions.
- Think before you speak; remember what you speak is what he learns.
- Always take care to answer his question with patience.
Kids enjoy playing. It’s a good thing to encourage them to play. It helps them learn and develop motor skills, physical skills, problem-solving, reading and social skills.
Encourage your Toddler to
- Participate in outdoor games like playing with ball with other kids, riding a tricycle, etc.
- Play with water or in the sandpit.
- Play silly games like I-spy, hide and seek etc.
- Take activities like drawing, colouring and simple crafts.
- Solve problems like shape sorters, puzzles with eight-twelve pieces, Lego, etc.
- Play with kitchen utensils, dolls, cars, etc.
- Flip through picture books.
- Narrate stories and sing rhymes.
- Indulge in role plays.
- Participate in household chores like folding clothes, putting clothes in the washing machine, etc.
5. Practicing skills
Toddlers learn by solving simple problems using the ‘trial and error’ method. They practise or repeat an activity many times to master it. You might see your toddler persistently trying to turn doorknobs or push a circle down the square hole in the shape sorter a few times till he realizes he should try another shape.
- If you think his certain skills need to be honed, make him play games or do activities for developing that particular skill.
- Let him practice on his own, help him only when you realize he is doing it in a wrong manner or when he comes to you for help.
It’s easier said than done. At times, your toddler might face challenges or get stuck in the above mentioned approaches to learning. But with your patience, understanding and encouragement, know that it can be overcome.