I am always thinking of new ways to challenge my 15 month old little boy. How can I enhance his fine motor skills? How can I help him learn to count to 5 or say the word "bird"? I am constantly thinking on his level. I am not going to expect him to know how to say his ABC's right now because he is still learning how to talk. I am not going to expect him to know how to count because we haven't spent a ton of time on that subject. Children don't magically learn how to do things; WE have to teach them.
I've had a few friends ask me what they should be working on educationally with their toddler and what I do with mine. This is my answer:
1. Assess your child's abilities. Not your friend's child. Yours.
2. Once you know his abilities, focus on activities that are challenging TO HIM. For example, Owen is able to open and close things, sing songs using actions and hold a colored pencil to make marks on paper. SO I give him empty bottles with easy to open lids for him to practice with, sing songs such as the Itsy Bitsy Spider where he can do almost all the actions but is still needing to learn some more, and provide him with opportunities to color using colored pencils while helping him begin to learn how to correctly hold the pencil.
3. Talk to your toddler. I am constantly talking with my son. I tell him what I'm doing around the house, we look out the window and talk about what we see, I ask him questions such as "What do you see?" or "How do you feel?" My goal is to help him not only build vocabulary, but also learn important social skills such as knowing his feelings and using words such as "please" and "thank you."
4. Point out letters, numbers and words. If you are working on the letter "M" with your child, when you see a word that begins with "m" point it out to your child excitedly! Make a big deal about it and then let her find the next one. OR if you are teaching her how to count to 5, when you are putting toys away, count to 5 over and over again as you clean up.
5. Lastly, recognize that there are ALWAYS "Teaching Moments" and take advantage of them.
I sure hope that helps!
What do YOU do to help your toddler learn?