Physical Development: Encourage my physical development through a series of baby exercises. Tape a string onto a playing card or small sheet of paper. Set me on the floor and dangle the card over my head so that I am enticed to stretch my arms upward and over my head. Then lower the card to the floor, place it to my left, and then to my right. Gentle stretching is good for my balance, flexibility, and coordination. Next, stand me against a sturdy piece of furniture and do the same thing again. This time you will be encouraging me to balance with one hand as I reach with the other. Hopefully, soon I will gain enough confidence and stability that I may decide to let go and stand solely on my own. What a glorious moment that will be!|
Emotional Development: How do I react when you embrace another child or turn your attention towards an adult? I may show signs of jealousy and begin to whine, attempt to climb into your arms, kick my feet, etc. This behavior can be very apparent when you pick up and hold another baby, especially someone else's. If I am not occupied by something else, I may realize that your attention is elsewhere, and my goal is to refocus your attention back onto your number one...me. I am not exhibiting signs of selfishness, but rather I am merely attempting to reestablish my sense of security. Reassure me by giving me a few extra squeezes when you are finished focusing on someone else. I will appreciate your loving affirmation.
Social Development: Hand washing is such an important skill for you to teach me. I do not want to get sick and have to go see the doctor. You liked going to the doctor when you were pregnant with me because you could hear my heartbeat and hear how big I was getting, but going to the doctor now isn't so much fun. I get immunization shots periodically and that is enough for me. I want to stay healthy so I can play and learn new things. Please teach me how to wash my hands in the morning when I wake up, before and after I eat, and before I go to bed at night. It might even be a good habit to wipe my hands clean after you change my diaper so I can begin to understand that I should wash my hands after I use the bathroom. Obviously, I won't be doing that for a while, but go ahead and set the example. I put way too many things into my mouth. Until I grow out of this stage, I need my hands to be as clean as possible. Please don't assume that dirty hands will improve my immune system. Dirty hands can make me sick. When I am sick, I'll look really pitiful, I'll be even high(er) maintenance, and I won't be able to be nearly as loving. Shall we go wash, wash, wash those germs away?
Intellectual Development: Can you tell which color I like the best? Obtain two different sheets of brightly colored construction paper. Primary colors are the colors I like the best. Using red and blue, for example, cut each paper into eight equal pieces. Place the pieces on the floor in front of me. I will undoubtedly begin playing with the pieces of paper. Do I tend to reach for one color over the other? Talk to me about the colors I am choosing. If you feel that I am primarily picking up one color, then set the color I don't seem as interested in to the side. Obtain a third color, like yellow or orange. Cut it into eight equal pieces and mix them together with the color I seemed to like the best on the first round. Do I still seem to pick up the red pieces like before? Do I pick up the orange papers instead? What conclusions can your draw about my ability to prefer one color over another? This activity can also be done to determine other preferences like favorite foods, toys, sippy cups, etc.
Language Development: Read a book to me like My First Word Book by DK. This book has great pictures of very common things. The pictures and their labels will help me learn more about my body, my clothes, household items, foods, bathroom objects, gardening, animals, and much more. Don't read the entire book to me in one session; instead focus on just one or two pages. For example, point to the girl's elbow, say the name, and then show me my elbow and repeat the name. When talking about bathroom items, read me the page and take me to the location we are reading about. I will make more meaningful connections if I can see, touch, and hear what we are learning about. Word books will provide me with an array of useful literary information, but with your guidance I will be able to gain a better understanding of oral language and the world around me. Let's go on a walking, talking, and reading field trip!