Developmental Windows of Opportunity
Did you know that when babies are born their little brains haven’t yet been hardwired? The hard wiring happens at different times for different stages of development. For example, if you’ve read my post on why Annabelle didn’t watch TV until she was 2 you would know that that’s when a baby’s vision develops and watching the flashing lights of a television can impact the way vision is wired and possibly cause problems with concentration on the future. To learn more about that read my post, Are you Smarter than Baby Einstein? Believe it or not, Self Control is also something that is learned as a baby, beginning at 16 months. Here’s some more info regarding when we are hard wired for self control.
Emotional Intelligence: 0-48 months. This includes empathy, motivation and understanding their feelings. Explain and talk about different emotions, explain what they feel like and what to do when you’re feeling them. Teaching young children relaxation techniques is very important. They need to learn coping skills so that they can understand and deal with all the big feelings that they’re feeling.
Trust: 0-14 months (now that you know this do you really want to let your baby cry it out or do you want your baby to trust that when she’s crying she’ll be picked up, when she’s hungry she’ll be fed and when she needs you you’ll be there? That’s the way I feel about that but what do I know? I’m just a mom that can’t stand listening to my baby girl cry and would never be able to let her cry it out. Annabelle didn’t start sleeping through the night until after her 1st birthday but I was happier to lose sleep than to let her cry it out and I have zero regrets about the countless nights of sleep I lost.
Impulse control: 16-48 months.
Attachment: 0-12 months. An infant needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for social and emotional development to occur normally. Infants become attached to individuals who are sensitive and responsive with them, and who remain as consistent caregivers for some months during the period from about six months to two years of age.
Independence: 12-24 months. This is when they learn to be little individuals and start wanting to do things for themselves. Help your child become independent by teaching them how to do things for themselves instead of doing everything for them. Show them how to put on their shoes, pull up their pants, choose their own plate for dinner etc. Let them do as much as they can to encourage a sense of independence.
Cooperation: 24-36 months This is a great time to start striking a deal with your toddler and teaching them team building. If Annabelle doesn’t want to do something I usually ask her if she wants help with it, and if she does we’ll do it together.
Problem solving: 16-48 months This is similar to independence, let them figure stuff out on their own. If they get frustrated because they can’t put a puzzle together, don’t do it for them, empower them by showing them how to do it.
Motor development 0-24 months Another great reason to keep that TV off until they’re 2. Sitting and watching TV does not motor skills develop. Run around, kick a ball, balance on one foot, crawl, climb, do yoga. Fine motor skills don’t develop as fast is gross motor skills haven’t been developed. The more gross motor skills are developed the more control your child will have of their own body in space, because this is how they learn about their bodies, what they do and where they are.
Vision: 0-24 months. The main reason behind our decision to keep the TV off until age 2. Watching TV (or anything with bright flashy lights on a screen) affects the way vision is wired in the brain. The more TV they watch the brain will wire to see things with flashing lights and bright colors and then when it comes to things like reading in the future they may have a harder time concentrating on things that don’t have the smae flashing effects that their eyes have been wired for.
Early sounds: 4-8 months. Read, read, read!! And talk to your child! As much as you can. Instead of being silent partners together explain everything you’re doing and why, they more exposure they get to words and sounds the better of they will be!
Vocabulary: 0-24 months Aim for reading at least 4 books a day. And 20 minutes a day as they get older and can concentrate for longer spans of time.
If you’re interested in learning more, here are some great articles to take a look at.