Monday, October 31, 2005

Make Everyday A Learning Experience

When you have a baby, you will begin to see the world in a new way. Everything is new to your baby, and you can feel overwhelmed with the idea of "teaching" all that is the world to your baby. The best approach is to make everyday a learning experience for both of you. That way you can begin to incorporate learning into the baby's life naturally.

You should drive a different route to work or visit a different grocery store occasionally. While you may not think there is much to see in a grocery store, your child is taking in everything - the sights, sounds, and smells. It is your job to make sure that he or she sees as many different places as possible to facilitate learning.

Also try taking hands-on field trips with your baby. While you may not think that your baby will get much out of them, you are improving his or her brain function. The connections you are helping baby make now are helping him or her later as well. Try going to a museum or picking up shells at the beach. Look at leaves when you go to the park instead of just swinging or letting baby relax in a stroller. Experience the world with your baby.

Plants are proven to help with all types of stress-related problems. They also brighten up your house. Consider planting a small indoor garden. Your baby will be able to see food growing and will get a kick out of the bright colors. You can use small containers, such as coffee tins, to grow simple plants, like carrots and radishes.

Make a photo album with your baby watching. Obviously baby cannot help you to make the photo album. That would be a disaster! Still, he or she can sit and play with bright pieces of construction paper while you are sifting through photos. Talk to your baby while you are working on the album. "Oh look, here's a picture of Mommy and Daddy at the beach!" Carry on a conversation with your baby; you are improving brain waves.

Finally, you should just let your baby play. While it is important to provide some structured learning, your baby will learn simply through the play process. While you may not understand it, your baby's babbling at his bumper pad could be an important conversation with the characters on it. Research shows that babies with the most intellectual development experience a good bit of free play without Mom or Dad interrupting to show them how to do everything. Your baby will figure it out on his or her own. Give baby some room; she will learn on her own, too.

Be sure that you do not allow your need for structured learning to overcome baby's need to be a baby. Allowing your little one to explore the world will help with the learning process, and you will be able to see his joy when he has learned something new. So sit back and enjoy the time you have with your little one.

By Julia Mercer

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