In this article we talk about the activities for babies under 1 year old. It is really important if you want your baby to grow up fully-developed and healthy. If you develop and educate your baby within the first year of life, many problems and difficulties will be avoided in the future.
What is early child education when it is said about the babies of one or under one year old? Education of a baby at this age is the creation of a comfortable developmental environment where the baby plays and unconsciously learns. Musculoskeletal system, nervous system, thinking and memory are being actively developed.
Early child education is a certain level of communication with the baby, the level of mutual understanding. It is a joy of showing him the world and opening up new opportunities. It is also an opportunity to perceive the baby not as undeveloped human being that is needed only to be dressed and fed, but an open-minded person.
Parents are the best teachers for their children
When developing and educating the baby, parents enrich their own cultural baggage. Giving children basic information on history, geography, art history, parents learn a lot of things they would never learn just for their overall development.
In addition, parents are the best teachers for their children. The fact is that the little child looks at the world through the eyes of an adult who cares about him. Facing in life with something unfamiliar, he looks at first at the reaction of the adult. The parent explains the child what is happening, and the child does not worry.
Between the child and his parents there is an emotional connection. No one can feel the child and understand his needs better than parents can do that. The most important thing for parents who want to create for their child a developmental environment is to consider their child’s individuality. Indeed, every child’s development has its own daily system of time reckoning, “pause”, defined by the conditions, environment, the moon, etc. And a number of environmental parameters can be controlled. Therefore, the parents’ task is to minimize the time required for development of their baby’s different abilities without using violent methods of pedagogics. If the baby has lost interest in some activities, does not enjoy them, you should stop doing these activities for several weeks or even months. Maybe his knowledge needs time to “settle down.”
How to properly organize educational time for your baby? Here are some general tips.
Create a little school for your baby to develop on his own within the first few weeks of life. Remember, your baby learns to recognize simple shapes within the first days of life: straight and curved lines, shadows, midtones, etc. You need to help him to learn on his own and not to leave him alone surrounded with these complex unfamiliar objects.
You should create an understandable developmental environment for your baby, place developmental elements of the environment in the field of his view: household items, materials, diapers, toys, and his crib. The main purpose of these items (crib, diapers, pictures on the walls, toys, etc.) is to help your baby develop himself in your absence.
Watch your baby during the short moments of his waking hours. If you follow the movements of his eyes, you will see that the baby always looks at something or is in constant search. The baby looks around as if measuring objects and lines, compares them, learns to look just at the top corners, etc. In a week you can attach a big triangle or a circle in the field of baby’s view, and he will start his first independent travel around this image. It is as much a fascinating journey for a one month old, as a day trip around a small town on foot is fascinating for you. At this moment energy equivalents of eye muscle movements are being formed in the baby’s brain. They are memorized and stored as the first and the most important images in a child’s life.
Physical movement of eye muscles “delivers” signals to the brain that are formed in the future building blocks of intelligence. Everything that a baby sees in the first weeks of life becomes dear for him forever. After two days of entertaining tour around a square he will see it in a whole at a glance! It is a little discovery for him, but he will use it all his life! And you have helped him in this! You can be sure that the “journey” around a black triangle and the circle with his eyes will be no less pleasant and joyful for your baby.
Thus, now the leading activity of your baby is the visual perception that helps intelligence develop. Help your baby explore the world, and do not distract him from what he wants to do – he wants to travel around the simple geometric shapes, and then to learn more complex objects. In scientific language it means: “the baby strives for development of his visual system and analytical thinking.” And at this time the baby needs to be helped in learning the basics of perception most of all. He makes his first discoveries, and your help at this time is the most effective.
Use lots of objects and object tools like sets of toy crockery and toy fruits, drums, balls, pyramids, animal figures, dolls, etc. Use the minimum number of pictures in the age of one year, as the baby must be able to examine and touch, and sometimes chew the material he learns.
Remember that the skills you teach your baby should be used in everyday activities and in games. A skill is considered to be developed when the baby uses it in a game at least 3 times.
Your task is to help your baby use his skills in real life. Besides just sorting geometric shapes you can sort vegetables by shape and size, then sort cereal or spaghetti. Let your baby knead a piece of dough while you are preparing pies.
To learn at the table is the most difficult in the home environment. 3-5 minutes are enough for a 1 year old baby. You do not have to rush around the apartment, trying to show your baby a picture of a dog or force him to insert a picture into the corresponding place. There is a certain place and time for lessons. Let it be 5 minutes, but they are compulsory. Lessons will become a usual thing, a ritual like brushing teeth.
Praise your baby as often as possible. Children at the age under 2 years old should not be punished or blamed for poorly done job. Any activity is a fun game, and it depends only on you whether your baby will like it. Praise your baby more often, even if he did something wrong – even attempt to perform a task up to 2 years old should be judged as a good job.
If a baby of 6-18 months old does not want to do activities, throws toys, turns away, cries – it is an alarm. Or if the baby feels uncomfortable (wants to eat, sleep, is tired or scared, or peed, etc.), or the task does not correspond to his level of development. Remove the cause of discomfort. Change the form of lessons otherwise your baby will have aversion to any form of collaboration.
Education is a merry play
Babies cannot get tired of too much information, as they control the load considering their rhythms of development: they do only what they are interested in and what brings them joy and pleasure. And the parents’ task is to bate their curiosity, give them tools to explore the world. Early cognitive development cannot damage the baby’s physical development and growth. Do not teach the child at this age – let him learn on his own. Children (like adults) do not like to be controlled. Believe in your baby’s talent, do not check and test him. Your baby will show you his knowledge when he wants.
Starting from the age of 1 up to 3 months old, you can use rattles with different rings, with handles that can be hung. You can also use rattles with different sound effects. From 4 to 6 months old you can give your baby rubber toys and roly-poly toys of different shapes and color. By 9 months old your baby can play with different balls to roll, and with blocks which are necessarily of different size and color. Moreover toys of a box shape will be also very useful where he can put little toys of different shapes. A 1 year-old baby can play with a variety of dolls and pyramids, as well as with role-playing toys, such as dolls, dogs, cats, and so on. It is also possible to give him different cubes with pictures.
At this age you can use sound toys, while swimming your baby can play with floating toys. So, by the age of one year old, the baby can open, take apart and reassemble such dolls as Russian matrioshka for example, as well as put shaped items into the shape sorting cubes. Babies of this age also like to roll toy cars very much, regardless whether it is a boy or a girl. At this age a baby can play alone for a long time without attention and care of the adult.
You can create your own games. When building house with the building blocks for example, you can put a blue cube on a red one, a yellow cube on a blue one. Ask your baby to build it on his own.
You can communicate with your baby like this:
Now you! Wow, how beautiful it is! You have a high tower, and I have a low one. Look high and low! And who would live in the tower? A little Mouse in a blouse! Squeak-squeak, here is the Mouse running. What does the mouse eat? Seeds! Let’s put seeds for her into a pan. Bring a pan, please! And where is the lid? This lid is large, find please the right lid… etc.
But when creating a game, do not overestimate your baby’s abilities. A 1 year old baby needs to play games with simple stories. For example: Bear went to visit Doll. Doll is taking a shower. The car carries bricks to the construction site. Then the story should be gradually extended and detailed: Bear and Doll sat down to drink tea, then they washed the dishes, went for a walk, and met Bunny, etc. Story game also helps your baby understand the purpose and the plan of the actions he faces in real life, because the game allows you to repeat them several times with comments and with the right rhythm for the baby.
Do not be afraid to break something, get dirty and explore together with your baby. Your baby NEEDS to splash in a puddle at least once in his life. He NEEDS to move his hands in dirt. He NEEDS to break something, to see what was inside. It is known that manipulations with small objects, the development of fine motor skills influence positively the development of the brain parts responsible for language development.
Encourage your baby to do activities that need both hands involved. It is useless to develop a strong hand (left or right). Many things need to be done with both hands (other hand is either active or involved partially – supports the basket, takes the plugs out, etc.) What can be done with both hands? Your baby can tighten the plugs, play puzzles, clean floor, clip clothespins, play in a sandbox, etc.
Also train your baby’s ability to concentrate, to keep his attention. Reserves of a 6 month old baby’s nervous system are still weak and so he is quickly distracted and tired. Look into baby’s eyes, talk gently, try to draw his attention with an interesting toy. By the end of the 1st year of life a baby is usually able to be involved in an interesting activity for about 10-15 minutes long. During the exercises try to keep quiet, because the slightest extraneous sound (loud music, dropped chair, etc.) can immediately distract your little one, and it will be difficult to attract his attention again.
Also remember that as your baby grows up, his toys and games must be changed as well, be more complicated.
Playing with your baby, try to teach him the following skills:
• Manipulate 2 – 3 items (to change the position in space of one item with the other one), to empty a container by turning it over.
• Put items into a container (such as a bucket, a box).
• Roll the items: push the toys away, watch the rolling object.
• Remove items from the horizontal support: balls off the rod, beads off a ribbon.
• Place a ring on the large rod (horizontal).
• Take two things apart, for example Russian matriohska.
• Open the boxes: shift lids off the boxes of different shapes, open and close the fixed lids, etc.
• Do mutually exclusive actions: disconnect – connect, put in – take out, take off – string.
For your baby to be taught these activities, you first need to do them yourself attracting your baby. Then you will have to do some activities holding the baby’s hand for some time until he learns to do them on his own.
Develop your baby multilaterally: sculpt with clay and plasticine, paint with brush and fingers, pour water, blow bubbles, visit exhibitions, read books, play with a ball and jump on the trampoline, sort groats, build pyramids with building blocks, sing and dance, listen to audio books, etc.
Thus, here are basic principles of home early child education:
• Parents are the best teachers for their baby.
• Task of parents is to promote the natural development of the baby.
• It is necessary to consider the individual characteristics of the baby: every baby has a right to be educated by the technique created just for him.
• For the harmonious development of the personality and intelligence of the baby, all his five senses should be stimulated as much as possible: it is important that the developmental environment includes a variety of fields of knowledge.
• Developmental environment for the baby should always be changed from simple to complex. It is necessary to make every day of the baby amazing and unique.
You can play only if you and your baby feel happy. If both you and your baby have fun, your baby then will necessarily benefit even if you are not a professional in your activity (drawing, singing).