9. Build trust by being attentive and focused. When your child is playing, resist the temptation to check Instagram. Instead, get on the ground and spend time interacting with him. Babies who are securely attached to you emotionally will be able to invest more energy in the pleasures of exploration, learning, and discovery.
10. Give her a body massage. This can lower your infant’s stress levels and enhance her feelings of well-being and emotional security. Loving touches even promote growth in young babies: Research has shown that premature babies who are massaged three times daily are ready to leave the hospital days earlier than babies who do not receive massages.
Book Pick: The Kissing Hand Communicate the idea of loving touch with Chester from The Kissing Hand. In the book, Chester’s mother shows him that she can kiss his hand in the morning and he’ll feel the warmth there when you read this classic aloud.
11. Enlist help from your toddler at clean-up times. This is a wonderful way to practice categorization. Toddlers learn that stuffed animals have one place to go for “night-night” time; cars, trucks, and other vehicles also have their special storage place. Children need to learn about sorting into categories and seriation (placing things in order; for example, from smallest to largest) as part of their cognitive advancement in preschool.
Book Pick: How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms? This sweet story about a frolicsome dinosaur tasked to clean up promotes organizational skills and responsibility through loads of laughter and positive reinforcement.
12. Set up a safe environment for your crawling baby or toddler. Your mobile child will begin to understand spatial parameters and vocabulary such as under, over, big, little, near, and far, plus the relationship between objects of different shapes and sizes (those that are big versus little, for instance). He will start to establish mental maps of his environment and a comfortable relationship with the world in which he lives.
Book Pick: The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark An under-the-sea retelling of “The Three Little Pigs” will provide a colorful story and a big laugh for your child, all while supporting the development of spatial skills and vocabulary.