Talking with Your Baby Can Advance Their Language Development

We’ve all heard that it is important to read to children from an early age, but we are also learning it’s vital to talk with them.

We’ve all heard that it is important to read to children from an early age, but we are also learning it’s vital to talk with them. An MIT study (1) finds that “engaging children in conversation is more important for brain development than ‘dumping words’ on them.” According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (2), “promotion of optimal early brain and child development is essential for the health and well-being of children. During these critical first few years of life, safe, stable, and nurturing relationships are critical to healthy brain development.”

More than 85% of brain growth occurs in the first three years and as a parent or caregiver, you can assist in optimizing early brain development in your children. The ways in which you interact, play and respond with children, affects the development of their brain. In a study published by Harvard University’s Division of Medical Science and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, children scored an average of 12 percent higher on standard language assessment when they were exposed to significant conversation (1).

The MIT scientists studied the number of ‘conversational turns’ experienced by young children and how they were related to brain development by documenting activity levels of the Broca area of the brain. A ‘conversation turn’ can be simple or complex. For a young child, asking a simple question and getting a response is a turn. Counting these turns can help parents and caregivers ensure they are conversing, not just providing instructions to a child. The study results provide the first evidence that family conversation has a direct impact on brain development in children.

How can you increase the number of these critical ‘conversations turns’ you have with young children?

Infants. Newborn brains have almost the full lifetime of neurons, so newborns are primed to start learning. Ways to help promote infant brain development include talking, reading, playing music and holding the infant. Talking with infants is challenging as they are observing in order to learn how to interact. To make it conversational, repeat back sounds the infant makes and add additional words to help with language development. As the child’s speech and vocabulary improve, ask them questions and encourage them to respond.

Toddlers. Toddlers, aged one through three years old, have an increased desire to explore new things and like to imitate behavior of caregivers and others. At this point, the brain begins to slow down the production of neuron connections, however it is still producing much more than in adulthood. At this age, it is easier to hold back and forth conversations. Encourage taking turns, by asking questions and waiting for the child to answer. When telling stories, take turns describing what could happen next, building on what was just shared.

Sponsored by Ohio State University, a 2019 study found a ‘million word gap’ for children who aren’t read to at home. Although focused on reading, the gap also identifies a difference in hearing words spoken. By conversing with children on a range of topics, children can hear more words from parents and caregivers. Instead of having the same chats about meals and play time, caregivers can tell stories about the lives of grandparents or talk about the animals at the zoo. The goal is to share new words with young children, expanding their vocabulary. With a bit of focus, caregivers can tell a story about how a poodle and a greyhound had an adventure at a national park, expanding the words and depth of the story beyond a quick tale about two dogs on a neighborhood walk. Having the children participate by providing their own stories or answering questions about your story helps create ‘conversation turns’.

To learn more, a Brain Development course is available with enrollment in the Professional Childcare program at AmsleeInstitute.com.

References:

1. Gabriele, J, Romeo, R. “Back and Forth Exchanges Boost Children’s Brain Response to Language”, Psychological Science 14 February 2018. http://news.mit.edu/2018/conversation-boost-childrens-brain-response-language-0214

2. Zimmerman FJ, Gilkerson J, Richards JA, Christakis DA, Xu D, Gray S, Yapanel U. “Teaching by Listening: The Importance of Adult-Child Conversations to Language Development”, American Academy of Pediatrics, 124(1). July 2009, pp. 342-3499. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/fa62/bc816f12fc6b58496902286d05af8d1cdc25.pdf

3. Jessica AR, Logan LM, Justice MY, Leydi JCM. “When Children Are Not Read to at Home”, Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 4 April 2019; https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190404074947.htm

Language Development Milestones for a Three-Year-Old Child

Young children need to be engaged in language rich experiences with families and caregivers in order to develop age appropriate speech and language skills.

Three-year-old’s have a lot to say! As infants, children listen to sounds and words in their environment, practice how to make sounds and words, learn new words, and make sentences so that they can interact with the world around them. Talk, talk, talk! Young children need to be engaged in language rich experiences with families and caregivers in order to develop age appropriate speech and language skills.

There are two main types of language, receptive and expressive. Receptive language explores how a child understands what he/she hears and sees. A typically developing three-year-old can show a variety of receptive language skills. Language milestones for a typically developing three-year-old child include the ability to understand:

  1. 1000 vocabulary words or more
  2. Concept words, (e.g., location, size, numbers and feelings)
  3. Names of family members
  4. How use objects
  5. Yes/no questionsBasic “wh” questions, (e.g., what, where, who, when, how).

A young child of this age can also answer yes/no questions and basic “wh” questions as well as ask a variety of simple questions. This is also the age when children begin to tell their own personal stories (Lanza, Flahive, 2008).

woman coloring with a child

Expressive language examines how a child uses words, gestures, sentences, and writing to send a message. Expressive language milestones for a typically developing three-year-old child including the use of 3-4 words in a sentences and the ability to use nouns, verbs, pronouns, plurals, and past tense verbs. A child should also be able to listen to and understand simple stories, songs, conversations, and follow multi step directions (Lanza, Flahive, 2008).

Language does not develop at the same rate for every child, however, there are certain “red flags” that signal possible delays. These can occur in one or both areas of language, receptive and/or expressive language. Receptive concerns include a child’s difficulty with:

  1. Looking and pointing to objects and pictures
  2. Maintaining eye contact
  3. Following directions
  4. Understanding questions
  5. Taking turns in a conversation.

Expressive language concerns look different and may be noticeable to families and caregivers. They include difficulty with:

  1. Asking questions
  2. Answering questions
  3. Naming objects
  4. Pointing or whining instead of using words
  5. Combining 3-4 words in a sentence
  6. Vocabulary development (ASHA).

Language delays are the most common type of developmental delay in children. Statistics indicate that one out of five children will learn to talk later than their peers (Healthy Children, 2011). The research indicates that there are a variety of causes of a language delay. Sometimes the cause is unknown, but here are some of the more common causes:

  1. One of the first things to rule out is a hearing difficulty or loss. Many young children have ear infections which can cause inconsistent hearing or a hearing loss. If a child cannot hear consistently, then he will not develop language in a normal way. Any hearing concerns can be easily identified by certified professional Audiologist.
  2. A child’s environment can also cause a language delay. If a child is not spoken to or does not hear others speaking, he will not learn language or how to use language appropriately.
  3. Another cause may be prematurity. When a baby is born prematurely this may lead to developmental delays, possibly including a language delay.
  4. In addition, neurological problems like cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and traumatic brain injury may affect the muscles needed for speaking, thus causing a delay.
  5. Autism also affects communication. Communication problems are often an early sign of autism.

Gay couple playing with their child in the garden

Families who have concerns about their child’s language development should speak with the pediatrician and seek out the help of a certified professional Speech- Language Pathologist (Mott Children). Whether a child has a language delay or not, there are strategies and activities that all caregivers and families should use to promote language in children.

There are many practical everyday activities that promote language development in young children. The easiest way to encourage language development is to speak clearly to the child and model good speech. Children learn from their models. It is important to repeat what the child says, to indicate understanding, and then add on to what he says, modeling longer sentences. Activities for encouraging language development in young children include: reading repetitive books, singing songs, reciting nursery rhymes, engaging in finger plays, asking questions that include a choice, (e.g., “Do you want cookies or brownies?”), and helping the child learn new words [e.g., naming body parts and talking about what you do with them]. (ASHA, 2016). Family members and caregivers should make time to play with young children one-on-one, turn off the television, and reduce or eliminate screen time. Children learn language when people talk to them, so talk about the things you do together, and the places you go (Parents Choice).

Language is an important tool that allows a child to communicate with his parents, peers and other people in his environment. Language helps a child grow into a person who can socially interact with others throughout life. It is critical that a child develops appropriate language skills at a young age and that families and caregivers engage in language rich activities to promote the development of these skills.

To learn more, a Preschool course is available with enrollment in the Intermediate Childcare program at AmsleeInstitute.com.

 

References

Activities to Encourage Speech and Language Development. (2016). Retrieved March 29, 2019, from Asha.org
Best Strategies to Stimulate Your 3-year-old’s Language Development. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2019, from Parents-choice.org
Causes of Speech and Language Delays. (n.d.). Retrieved April 4, 2019, from Mottchildren.org
Language Delays in Toddlers: Information for Parents. (2011, November 18). Retrieved from HealthyChildren.org
Lanza, J., Flahive, L. (2008). LinguiSystems Guide to Communication Milestones. IL: LinguiSystems.
Preschool Language Disorders. (n.d.). Retrieved April 2, 2019, from Asha.org

4 Learning Environments for Children

For children in the early years (ages 1-5), the learning environment plays a critical role in brain development and productivity in later years.

The learning environment is any area that a child lives or plays. Positive learning environments in a home, daycare, or school foster emotional, physical, and academic development as everything from wall color to seating arrangements can affect the way a student learns. For children in the early years (ages 1-5), the learning environment plays a critical role in brain development and productivity in later years.

Children learn best when immersed in an environment that engages the child. There are four primary types of learning environments which include integrated, auditory, visual, and social and emotional. Creating a space that integrates these 4 components provides an environment that is respectful and considers a child’s development regarding their social and emotional well-being, their ability to understand and apply verbal direction and appeals to their sense of curiosity while being developmentally appropriate.

1. Integrated. An integrated environment helps children make connections between their experiences and the world around them by providing young children with activities that foster the development of one or more domains at a time. In this way, new concepts are not taught nor experienced in isolation. A child might engage in learning a specific mathematical concept while also engaging and activating their expressive language skills, hand eye coordination and social emotional development.

children playing in sand

An example of an integrated activity across multiple domains is a group of children playing at the sand table with different sizes of buckets and shovels. The goal in this activity is to have the children fill the different sizes of buckets full of sand and discuss which bucket might hold the most sand and which bucket might hold the least amount of sand. While they are engaging in bucket selection, shoveling, and sorting, the children are also learning about volume and weight. This is an example of an activity that has integrated more than one concept or developmental domain in a single activity.

In a home setting, it is important to define separate learning spaces so that quiet activities such as reading, writing and drawing are separate from areas where louder activities occur. It is easy to define smaller learning spaces within a larger space using signs indicating what the space will be used for, such as a bean bag chair in a corner with a sign that says, “reading nook”. It is important to provide visual representations of the learning space and the activities that might take place so that children can begin to make the appropriate connections. Once children become familiar with the defined spaces and their requirements it will become easier to develop the activities that will take place in them.

baby playing with instruments2. Auditory. Auditory learners are children who process information by listening. Thus, an auditory environment helps to strengthen young children’s verbal-linguistic and auditory processing skills. An auditory environment should be rich in dialogue with lots of discussion between caregivers and the child as well as child to child. Auditory learners enjoy listening to stories and engaging in social activities such as dramatic play and role playing.

Auditory learners can listen and complete activities without visual representation and enjoy stories with repetitive lines. A childhood favorite is the story of The Gingerbread Man. The repetitive line in this story is “Run, Run As Fast As You Can, You Can’t Catch Me I’m The Gingerbread Man”. When reading repetitive lines aloud, children latch onto the pattern and often repeat it with you. These children enjoy listening and creating music as well as hearing stories read aloud and on tape.

visual schedule3. Visual. Visual learners process information using their sight. Providing children with visual representation helps their brain process and store new information. Visual aids also help them retain the information especially when the visuals are left up for the children to access when needed.

Young children should be immersed in a print rich environment. Providing a picture along with a word helps build their visual memory. Labeling materials and items help children learn new words in print from and helps them to understand where to put materials back when they have finished using them.

A visual environment might include pictures, labels (such as door, clock, or math center), and other visual aids such as charts, calendars, poems, alphabet charts, and number charts. Visual cues can also include a daily schedule and instructions with pictures such as how to wash hands properly, how to clean up, and how to put toys in proper places.

The visual environment is important to have in any learning space because children make the connections between printed words and language at a young age. Even before children can formally read, they begin to recognize that printed words have meaning. An example is when children recognize the sign M for McDonalds or they see and understand the meaning of a stop sign.

baby playing with toy4. Social and Emotional. A responsive caregiver strives to meet the individual needs of all children entrusted in their care. Research shows that the relationship between the caregiver and the child can affect the way in which the child forms relationships later in life. Treating each child as an individual with individual needs is an example of being a responsive caregiver and the social emotional environment is built upon this mentality. It is important to understand that no two children are alike so responding to their needs, needs to be individualized.

Social and emotional environments for children can vary. An important thing to remember when building the social and emotional learning environment is to always address a child at their eye level whether it be to talk with them directly or to redirect the type of behaviors you are witnessing. Young children do not understand sarcasm, so it is never a good idea to use it when talking with them.

To address negative behaviors, it is a best practice not to call attention to the negative behaviors or reprimand a child in front of everyone. Instead, use a gentle touch on the shoulder and redirect them by quietly stating what it is you want them to do. An example of this might be “Please show me you understand how to share your toys.” When the child complies with your request, give them a positive affirmation by saying, “that was a good choice – thank you”.

Children learn about the world around them in multiple ways. Creating a learning environment based on these 4 area taps into the different learning styles and ways in which children process information.

To learn more, a Leraning Environments course is available with enrollment in the Advanced Childcare program.

About the Author: Annemarie has a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Fitchburg State University. Annemarie is a published children’s picture book author of How the Finch Got Its Colors and a public-school teacher in Massachusetts. Annemarie is an adjunct faculty member of Amslee Institute and authored a Learning Environments course for Nannies and Sitters.

Promoting Child Brain Development

The way in which you interact, play, and respond to children will affect the development of their brains.

Isaac Asimov said, “The human brain, then, is the most complicated organization of matter that we know.” As a caregiver, you have the opportunity to assist in optimizing the growth and development of children in your care. The way in which you interact, play, and respond to children will affect the development of their brains.

Newborns: The newborn (0-28 days old) has to learn to adapt ad understand an entire new environment. It is important to promote healthy eating and sleeping patterns. Typically, newborns will eat every 2-3 hours and sleep for an average of 16 hours per day, in short 2 to 4-hour periods. At about 2 weeks of age, newborns can begin copying interactions of caregivers. You should start making eye contact to stimulate the newborn’s vision and focus.

baby laughing on floorInfants: Children in infancy (ages 0 to1 year old) focus their vision, explore, and learn about their environment. Ways to help promote brain development in this age group include talking and singing to the infant. Repeating sounds that the infant makes and then adding additional words will help with language development. For example, if an infant cues “aah” before a feeding, you can say “Yes, aah you want the bottle.” Reading to infants also helps them develop an understanding of sound. It is recommended a baby be read to at least once a day.

toddlersToddlers: As a child becomes a toddler (ages 1 to 3 years old), you should engage in playing games that will develop their curiosity. A great game to play is to ask the child to name different body parts. My daughter loves playing this game and we started when she was a year old by asking, “Where is your nose?” She would point to her nose and try to repeat the word ‘nose’. Little by little we added body parts as we played the game. At 19 months, she can point to and say all her body parts.

Other games to play during this age are matching and sorting games. These include sorting different shapes and even solving big, simple jigsaw puzzles. Encourage exploring new things in different surroundings by going to a park or on a walk. Continue to increase language capacity by adding to the words toddlers say to form short sentences. This is also a great time to let the toddler help with dressing and feeding himself or herself. Praising good behavior and listening will help build confidence and encourage children to keep trying. As the toddler gets older, try to read a book at a certain time of day; for example, before bedtime. This start building routines.

3-5 year olds3-5 Year Olds: The best time to enforce encouragement of reading is when a child grows out of being a toddler into a young child or preschool child. If you haven’t started yet, take the child to the library. Also, allow the child to assist with simple chores such as folding clothes. Now is also the time to start promoting sharing and building friendships by encouraging the child to play with others. When the young child has a problem, try and walk through the steps to overcome it so they learn basic problem-solving skills.

Make sure you speak to the child in complete sentences as this will help foster good language skills. Avoid speaking in baby talk. For example, if a child says, “Me played with doll and white blanket”, respond by saying “Oh, you mean you played with your doll and her little blanket?”

6-8 year olds6-8 Year Olds: Between the ages of 6 and 8 years old, independence becomes even more important. During this age, show the child affection by recognizing even small accomplishments. “Talking” with the child is the theme for this age. Help the child develop a sense of responsibility by allowing them to assist with tasks around the home. Talk with the child about things to look forward to and about the future.

This age is a great time to discuss the importance of respecting others and encourage helping others in need. Volunteering teaches compassion, empathy, and community responsibility. It is also important at this age to teach patience. For example, let someone other than the child go first when playing a game or waiting in a line.

9-11 year olds9-11 Year Olds: Between the ages of 9 and 11, peer pressure becomes more influential. Children of this age start gaining a sense of responsibility, so it is important to talk about the accomplishments and challenges that they are facing or have faced. Help the child set goals in various areas of their life; for example, getting a better grade on the next English test. Continue to encourage the child to read every day and talk about homework. It is important to be honest with the child so that you can build trust with the child.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Promotion of optimal early brain and child development is essential to the health and well-being of children.” As we interact with children during our normal daily activities, we often don’t think about how our actions can impact their development. Simple things like singing to a child in the car or reading to a child each night can have dramatic impacts on the child’s brain development. Be aware of how you interact with children of varying ages and recognize what an important influence you can be in their lives.

To learn more, a Brain Development course is available with enrollment in the Professional Childcare program.

About the Author: Elena Borrelli has a Master of Science in Physician Studies from the University of Detroit, Mercy and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Oakland University. She is a Licensed Physician Assistant, Online Academic Medical Advisor, and Founder of Family Branches, a non-profit organization for underprivileged children.

5 Ways to Add Music Education to Your Child’s Routine

Music is so important to children because it enhances speaking and vocal development, communication and attention skills.

Music is so important to children because it enhances speaking and vocal development, communication and attention skills. When activities include music and play, children have the ability to focus and develop listening skills. Children also learn ways to express themselves and engage socially.

Music can be used to reinforce everything you are doing with children, from learning colors to brushing teeth. You can easily add music throughout your day – at breakfast, dinner, playtime, naptime, and even in the car.

There are songs you can use to reinforce the skills or content you are trying to teach. Here are five ways to add music to your child’s routine.

1. For infants, music can be added to playtime. To practice hand movements that improve coordination, listen to Two Little Blackbirds and create a bird by looping your two thumbs together. As you recite the song, your ‘bird’ flies around. This is a great activity for infants as they often imitate the birds’ movements. You can substitute your child’s name instead of using the names Peter and Paul. To provide variety and help build their vocabulary, ask your little one to give you some names, perhaps mom’s name, brother’s name, or dad’s name.

2. For toddlers, music can be used to introduce counting as part of a nap time routine. Here is the song Ten Little Angels. We chose to use pots and kitchen items so don’t think you need expensive instruments to make music. Music making should be a fun and enjoyable process as seen in the video. You can have your child experiment with keeping the beat softly or loudly, marching or skipping. Make sure to vary movement and dynamics. Let children experiment, succeed, or fail, creating a safe, fun way to learn. At this age, mistakes do not really matter, it’s all about the learning process.

3. Music can help preschoolers learn colors, as in the song, Sing a Rainbow. You can use socks, plastic dishes, gloves, streamers, or anything that will provide you with the colors required. Have the child point or pick up the colored object as it is sung. If you have more than one child, you can give each child a specific color and have him/her hold up their colored object as you sing it. Before and/or after you sing the song, ask the child about the color of an object in a room such as, “What is the color of the rug?” “What in this room is green?” By doing this, you do two things: first, you assess are assessing what your child may or may not already know; and secondly, you build the child’s vocabulary and association with colors.

4. For kindergartners, music can be used to help them gain independence during their morning routine. For example, select a song that is 2 minutes long. Have this song play while they brush their teeth, so they learn how long they should brush. Then add a second song and teach them to use this time to choose their clothes, put their pajamas in the laundry basket, and get dressed. Adding a third song would indicate it’s time to put their lunch box and book in their backpack for school.

5. As children grow into first grade, memorization and advanced learning can be improved through music. I Know an Old Lady is a sing along and it’s often challenging to recall the order as it’s a long song, and sometimes a tongue-twister. Notice I have the animals from the song hanging on the wall behind me. This is to help the child sing along and recall the order (and help you if you do not have the animals memorized). You do not need anything fancy to do this song; before I bought the Old Lady Puppet, I used colored drawings of the animals.

Adding music to a child’s day is all about having fun so don’t worry if you are not a musician or singer. Sing – even if you don’t think you have the “best voice”, as a child is not going to judge you and singing helps them build their vocabulary. Play Instruments! You can use everyday household items such as pots and pans and wooden spoons. You don’t necessarily have to have a real instrument. Make instruments – a shaker can be as simple as an empty water bottle filled with popcorn kernels

Music has proven to increase learning so provide lots of opportunities for children to create and explore music. Encourage children to listen to different types of music and experiment with creating rhythms while making their own music. This helps children realize that they can make decisions for themselves as they build critical thinking skills.

For more information about using music to care for children, a Children and Music course is available within the Advanced Childcare Certification Program from Amslee Institute.

Dr. Beth StutzmannAbout the Author. Dr. Beth Stutzmann earned her Doctor of Musical Arts in Music Education from Shenandoah University, Master of Music in Horn Performance from Oklahoma City University, and Bachelor of Music in Music Education from The Boston Conservatory of Music. Dr. Stutzmann began her teaching career in public schools, instructing general music classes in grades PreK-8. She is the AP Music Theory Curriculum Writer for the University System of California and teaches for Georgia Virtual School. She was named Governor’s Teaching Fellow in 2012. In the same year, she was also the recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award from the National Society of Leadership and Success. Dr. Stutzmann is also an adjunct faculty member of Amslee Institute, an organization dedicated to professional training and certification of elite Nannies, Au Pairs, Babysitters, and other childcare providers.

Caring for Children 4 Child Development Theories That Can Help You Better Care for Children

A few recognized theories can provide useful insights on early development that will help you better care for children.

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Have you ever wondered what motivates thoughts and behaviors in children? Our understanding of human nature and child development is continually advancing but all children are different, and no one has all the answers. However, a few recognized theories can provide useful insights on early development that will help you better care for children.

woman with babyDuring our early years of infancy through childhood, we develop the basis of our intelligence, personality, social behavior, and capacity to learn. Four theories are worth reviewing and include attachment, psychosocial, cognitive development, and sociocultural theory.

1. Attachment Theory (Bowlby): This theory’s centers around strong emotional and physical bonds that create a sense of security in a child. Bonds are established with caregivers who are available and responsive to an infant’s needs. Thus, the infant knows the caregiver is dependable, which creates a secure base for the child to explore their surroundings.

Example: Six-month-old Jordan enjoys infant toys and interacting with others. Confident that crying brings help, Jordan responds to anyone and gets upset when someone stops interacting with him.

2. PsychoSocial Development Theory (Erikson): In this theory, social development occurs in stages based on turning points in a person’s life including hope (birth to age 2), will (ages 2-4), purpose (ages 4-5), competence (ages 5-12), fidelity (ages 13-19), love (ages 20-39), care (ages 40-64), and wisdom (ages 65+).

older woman reading to children

Example: Two-year-old Jennifer has recently begun squirming and saying “no” when her Nanny tries to secure her in her car seat. Jennifer has begun to develop a sense of self, separate from her caregivers. Her Nanny must consistently set limits and follow through with Jennifer, to keep her safe and secure while riding in the car. The Nanny can increase Jennifer’s willingness to comply by providing specific praise along with allowing Jennifer to pick a special toy to hold whenever she gets into her car seat without resistance. Selecting her own clothers will also help Jennifer gain more independence.

3. Cognitive Developmental Theory (Piaget): This theory is based on a four-stage model describing how the mind processes new information. The stages are sensorimotor (birth to age 2), preoperational (ages 2-7), concrete operational (ages 7-11), and formal operations (ages 12+).

Example: Five-year-old Zachary is still egocentric and struggles to see the perspective of others but is starting to think symbolically and use words to represent objects. Zachary loves reading and is building a foundation of language. As this stage, caregivers should continue to read books daily, encourage pretend play, share logical thinking. By explaining that it’s winter time as grandma’s house and thus, a coat is needed will help Zachary, who lives in Texas, understand why a coat is being packed in the suitcase.

child holding puzzle piece

4. Sociocultural Theory (Vygotsky): This developmental theory evolves from children’s interactions with tools and other people in their social environment. Community, culture, and interactions are key to child development and learning.

Example: Seven-year-old Alex is struggling to solve a jigsaw puzzle. By interacting with an adult, Alex learns how to separate out the edge pieces, put together the border, and sort the interior pieces by color or design. By working with an adult, Alex develops skills that can be applied to future jigsaw puzzles.

There are other childhood theories that can help parents and other caregivers by teaching them how to spend more enjoyable time with their child, reinforce positive skills, monitor behavior and set limits, and reduce the use of harsh discipline methods. These essential caregiving skills help children develop pro-social behavior, self-regulation, and other skills they need to be successful in school and at home.

For more information about caring for children, a Theories of Child Development course is available within the Professional Childcare Certification Program from Amslee Institute.

Dr. Alaina DesjardinAbout the Author. Dr. Alaina Desjardin earned her Doctorate in Business Administration from Northcentral University, Masters in Public Administration from Ashford University, Master of Arts in Teaching and Special Education from New Jersey City University and Master of Urban Education from New Jersey City University. Dr. Desjardin is licensed in New Jersey as an Educational Principal, Education Supervisor, and Certified Teacher. Dr. Desjardin is also an adjunct faculty member of Amslee Institute, an organization dedicated to professional training and certification of elite Nannies, Au Pairs, Babysitters, and other childcare providers.

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