Week 57 Brain Booster
So when your toddler plays with a truck, you need to get down on the floor, push your own truck around, and start vroom-vrooming. When Grandma and Grandpa arrive from Cincinnati for a visit, encourage them to copy your child's actions, be it waving, pat-a-caking, or ball rolling. Let new babysitters know that copying your toddler's behavior will bring smiles and eye contact; a relationship between them will follow. (Of course, if you mimic your child table-banging or sippy-cup throwing, don't be surprised if you see these negative behaviors become more noticeable. You want to reinforce only positive behaviors through mimicry!)
In a couple of years when your child is working on a jigsaw puzzle, sit down at the table and work on it with her. Don't take over, put in more pieces, or work faster than she does. Simply participate in the task at the same speed and in the same style as your child. Doing so will build rapport between you.
As your child gets older, there will be days when she comes to tell you about an event. She might say, "My doll's sleeping," or "My teacher's cat had kittens," or "I hate algebra and I'm never going back to that class again." It's important in these situations to remember those first exchanges between you and your then-infant—when you spoke parentese and she cooed and babbled back to you. A similar exchange will be necessary even at this much older age. "Your baby's sleeping? We'd better whisper," you might reply. "Your teacher's cat had kittens? How many?" "You hate algebra and you're never going back to that class again? It sounds like something terrible happened at school today." These loving responses affirm your child, engage her, and encourage her to think and communicate.
Coming soon, look forward to: Week 58: Pointing as a Teaching (and Bonding) Tool
Review the most recent accomplishments: Week 56: Wary of Robots
Curious about how else your toddler might be developing right now? Learn more about her clever brain and her growing body here: