"The latest research confirms the importance of what many parents do instinctively, such as reading, cuddling, and talking to their children," says Angie Dorell, director of curriculum at La Petite Academy, the nation's second-largest preschool. The following practices will help ensure a child's healthy brain development.
Talk, read, and sing to a child:
Communicating with a child gives him a solid basis for learning later.
- Talk and sing about daily events.
- Read stories in a way that encourages babies and toddlers to participate by answering questions or pointing to what they see in a picture book.
- Repeat rhymes and refrains.
Encourage safe exploration and play:
While many of us think of learning as simply acquiring facts, children learn through playing.
- Blocks, art, and pretending all help children develop curiosity, confidence, language, and problem-solving skills.
- Let your child choose many of her own activities. If she turns away or seems uninterested, put it aside. Let her pick it up again later when she's interested.