Your Child's Development

Be a role model for your child.

Children observe everything in their environment using, what Montessori termed, an absorbent mind. They take everything in its entirety, all the positive and negative experiences. Therefore, it is important to be the most positive role model that you can be for your child.

Learn to observe your child.

Children change very quickly during the early years of development. When you take time observing your child, you are able to pick up the nuances of changes in his or her development and make adjustments to the environment. Some families keep a journal and document their observations. This sets up a framework for later observations, specifically academic interests or friendships.

Continue to provide limits and structure for your child.

Children need clear and consistent limits in order to feel secure in their surroundings. Their experiences should be age appropriate and parents should give consistent follow through and feedback.

Give your child age appropriate choices.

Children should be given the freedom to make choices so that they may feel empowered and develop a strong self-esteem. Begin with small decisions and create limits with your choice-making. For example, “It is cold outside so you have to wear a coat. Do you want to wear the red or blue coat?

Continue to read to your child every day.

Reading to your child everyday models the importance of the written word. This should become one of the daily rituals at home. Be careful, when reading to your child, especially at bedtime, that it is simply that…reading. Do not question him or her as to the content of the book or to pick out words or sounds. This critical period is when your child needs to relax before going to sleep.

Introduce your child to the sounds of the alphabet.

Play sound games with your child where your child can come up with words that begin with a particular sound. For example, “I’m thinking of a word that begins with the sound 't'.” Be careful to give the sound only and not the name of the letter. Include in this activity ending and middle sounds as s/he becomes proficient with the beginning sounds.

Encourage home activities that strengthen your child's pincer grip for writing.

The physical component of writing can take years to refine. Introduce your child to activities such as sewing, molding clay, and picking up objects with chopsticks to help strengthen the hand for writing. When using an eating utensil, encourage your child to use a three fingered pincer grip instead of the whole hand monkey grip.

Introduce your child to numbers.

Your child should be exposed to numbers on a daily basis, whether it’s counting when going up stairs or counting out dishes to set up. Include numbers in conversations:. “There are four wheels on the car.” Don’t stop at 10 when you count. Introduce teen numbers, count by fives or tens or by even and odd numbers.

Give your child the names of shapes and solids in the environment.

At this early age, children should be exposed to as much language as possible. Play games with them where you ask them to find a shape of an object in the environment.

Share with your child the wonders of nature

Children love to take long walks. Take a few hours out of the weekend to go for nature walks. Believe it or not, children can walk up to two miles. Always follow your child’s pace.

Treat your child's mistakes with kindness.

Understanding that mistakes and accidents are usually an indication that your child is learning and practicing a skill greatly encourages your child to continue this process.

Limit the amount of time your child spends in front of a screen.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under two should not be exposed to television. This includes DVD’s and computer time. Excess screen time can hinder language and motor development in children. Watching television uses receptive skills, underutilizing expressive skills. Also children at this young age need physical exercise. This is completely eliminated during television watching.

Set up an area for your child to hang his belongings.

When children come home from school, they should be able to hang up their coat and put away their belongings on their own. Set up drawers in the bedroom so that they may be able to dress themselves without the aid of an adult.

Involve your child in age-appropriate household chores.

Children love to be active participants in the home. You can give them age-appropriate household chores like sorting or folding laundry. They can set the table, load the dishwasher or feed the fish, cat or dog.

Establish family traditions with your child.

Children love to have rituals. It is important to have meals together to discuss the day’s events. Set up family meetings to discuss any concerns that might arise or set up future plans. Have fun with it!