Saturday, August 4, 2012

Things Needed to Stimulate Infants and Toddlers

During the first three years of life, children experience the world in a more complete way than children of any other age. The brain takes in the external world through its system of sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. This means that infant social, emotional, cognitive, physical and language development are stimulated during multi-sensory experiences. Infants and toddlers need the opportunity to participate in a world filled with stimulating sights, sounds and people.

I just thought that parents and caregivers out there would agree that caring for infants and toddlers is mostly about building relationships and making the most of everyday routines and experiences. The Creative Curriculum for infants and Toddlers authored by Dombro, Colker and Dodge, 1997 says that during the first three years of life, infants and toddlers look to caregivers for answers to these questions:
  • What things interest me?
  • Is it safe for me to show how I feel?
  • What should I be afraid of?
  • Do people enjoy being with me?
  • How should I behave?
  • Am I competent?
  • Am I important to others?
  • Can I depend on other people when I need them?
  • Do people respond to me?
It was proven long ago, through some scientific studies that infants and toddlers learn about themselves and their world during interactions with others. And it was found also that brain connections that lead to later success grow out nurturant, supportive and predictable care – enhancing a child curiosity, creativity and self-confidence. Young children need safety, love, conversation and a stimulating environment to develop and keep important synapses – structures that permit neurons to pass an electrical or chemical signals to other cells in the brain.
The first three years of life, children stimulate and show their reactions when they’re exposed to the following multi-sensory environment:
  • Scents like peppermint and cinnamon keep children alert.
  • Lavender calm them down.
  • The sounds of thunder and lightning affect children alertness and responsiveness.
  • Bright lights keep infants and toddlers alert.
  • Soft lights help infants and toddlers to calm down.
  • Colors like pale yellow, beige and off-white help create a calm learning environment.
  • Bright colors such as red, orange, and yellow encourage creativity and excitement.
  • Quiet and soft music help calm infants and toddlers.
  • Rhythmic music get them excited about moving.
  • A texture book or board that includes swatches of different fabrics help infants andtoddlers enhance their sense of feel.
Words that describe the foods and drinks served to infants and toddlers also help them understand what flavor and texture they’re made of like:
  • Oranges are sweet and juicy.
  • Lemon yogurt is a little sour and creamy.
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