View Full Version : What can I do to help educate my son?
06-11-2009, 11:26 PM
Mom to mom (or dad to mom). . .my son is 8 months old, and I was wondering what are some things I can do for/with my son to help his mind grow. . . sometimes I wonder if he is behind, because I know many babies at or around his age. His cousin is two weeks younger than him, and can already clap his hands (and take steps for that matter) My son has never even tried to clap, even though he gets hysterical whenever i clap them for him. Anyway, my family values education and self expression, and I want my son to be a strong smart person. Are there games I can play with him to help him learn? Or perhaps it's too early to worry about that? I am not sure; he is my first and I don't really have much experience with children his age.
06-12-2009, 02:20 AM
It is not correct to say that an 8-month old is ahead or behind. Children develop at different speeds and that is normal, they should do that. Our goal as parents should not be to try even out the differences, it should be to evaluate current development level of the child and then train and stimulate based on that.
You are way too early to worry :)
There are many things we can and should do to stimulate though. First a couple of No-Nos;
One of the most important ones is NOT to keep the child at home all the time. The child benefits from the stimulus of different environments, bring him to the department store, bring him when you go to friends, on small holidays during the weekend. A child does not develop at his best seeing the same view all the time
Another important one is NOT to overprotect. Children are not made of glass :) Children should fall sometimes. It is not our job as parents to stop them from falling, it is our job to stop them from hurting themselves.
Do NOT allow your child to watch TV, ability to concentrate gets reduced. Zero before 2 years old, then 1 hour per day
Pay attention to the times you “need” to say ‘no’. Then remove the offending object. Children do not thrive on hearing No often…
Don’t impose too many roles rules on your child; you may suppress creativeness and initiative. A line is a line is a line, when it is necessary. Divide the behaviour you expect from your child into 2 groups, those to encourage and those to enforce, most of them can be in the encourage group so make sure there are as few as possible in the enforce group, especially if you have a spirited child – Don’t give in to those in the enforce group. Use positive reinforcement on those in the encourage group. Remember that in time, children often grow out of many behaviours, when they are ready for it
Don’t do a lot of things for your child, yes, it’s quicker but not good. Children (taught correctly) don’t want you to do things for them, they want you to teach them how to do it themselves
If your child does something bad and unacceptable, maybe the solution is not to make her stop doing it. Don't focus so much on stopping the behaviour...instead try to replace the behaviour
There are too many Dos… I’ll just point out a few that are often neglected
Positively reinforce and teach self-control and impulse control. People with good self-control often perform much better and become much more successful both academically, at work and socially. A good way to start teaching small children is to count from one-to-five or one-to-ten when it’s time to finish an activity, then break it off, or turn the lights off or whatever
Provide choices – Do you want the red or the green nightdress? Doesn’t matter if the kid is too young to understand, just hold the dresses out and he’ll choose anyway… Let your child decide himself when it doesn’t matter for you
Imagination is good, not bad :) Help encourage it
Someone else help with games please
Father of Idea, the good idea
06-12-2009, 09:46 AM
Gender specific play is something to avoid at all costs. By that I mean if your son wants to play cook and have a toy kitchen, then by all means get him one. My son LOVES his kitchen and LOVES cooking for everyone! Yes, you are going to start seeing a LOT of gender stereotyping by the toy manufacturers and it ticks me off to no end. Toy houses, strollers, grocery carts, play cleaning toys, etc do NOT all need to be freaking pink and purple! Enough with the Princess crap! My Prince likes to emulate Mommy and Daddy and BOTH of us shop, clean the house, make dinner, etc. Heck, most professional chef's are men, and yet play cooking is looked down upon for boys. So don't fall for the gender stereotyping forced upon you by the toy companies. Let your child be a child, and do imaginative play they way THEY want to.
Oh, and for those of you who are Mom or Dad Testers here... PLEASE give failing, or substantially lower grades to toy manufacturers who perpetuate this nonsense! It has to stop if we want healthy and well rounded boys and girls.
06-12-2009, 10:39 AM
Mike and Jim pretty much covered it all. Don't worry if he's 'behind' on some things... every baby develops at their own rate and it doesn't mean they are less smart or there's a problem.
Babies work on one thing at a time. They'll stop doing other things sometimes when their working on learning a new thing. Pediatricians and child development experts look for a certain set of things that all babies should be at least ATTEMPTING at a certain age and mostly they have nothing to do with the milestones that you see everyone talking about.
There's no way to increase the speed of your child's reaching certain things like clapping or attempting to walk. You can't hurry a baby's development. You don't want to. Just keep encouraging him at what he's doing, the others will come.
Jim... I totally agree with you on the gender specific things. Oh my Lord is it annoying! There used to be a time where they were making less gender specific toys... but that seems to have gone out the window. A well rounded man comes from a boy who liked emulating both mommy and daddy! My son is going to learn to cook and clean as well as mow the lawn and fix the computer! (my husband can't fix the car, he knows nothing about it, but the computer... he can fix :) )
06-12-2009, 11:46 AM
Try being consistent. I used to sing ABC's to my daughter everynight before bed. I sing ABC's with my son when he is on the potty. I use M&M's for colors or whatever you like, just use colorful food as an opportunity. Blocks. I use cookie cutters to cut out of their toast or bologna. I can think of more later.......
06-12-2009, 12:12 PM
Oh yeah - my son LOVES the play kitchen and the play vacuum (although I'm sure he's never seen me or my husband use one, so what's that about?). The pretend play is really good for them. I know these toys say for 3 and up, but my son really started liking them around 10 or 11 months; I just made sure there was nothing for him to choke on. I've read that singing is really good for their language development.
06-12-2009, 01:33 PM
I just want to add that you can buy every toy under the sun but your attention is best. There is no substitute for spending time with your kids.
06-12-2009, 01:38 PM
Talk to him all the time. Whatever you are doing; tell him about it. "Mommy is washing the clothes." "Mommy is cooking dinner. Watch me put the chicken in the oven." I take my son outside on nice days, and point out everything we can see. Cars, trees, grass, sidewalk, sky, birds, etc.
Make sure he is getting the nutrients that are necessary for brain development.
06-12-2009, 05:54 PM
Thank you for all your help. To be honest, it's not so much that I'm worried that he is behind, it's just that sometimes I wonder if I am not doing enough to expand his horizons. As a first time mom, I am always second guessing myself as to whether or not I am doing enough for him. He's a very independent kid, (or to me at least he seems so) and spends most of his time wandering around the living room playing by himself. I mean, don't get me wrong, i love that he is so independent, i just wanna make sure i'm doing everything i can for him
06-13-2009, 10:50 AM
Oh I understand the independent kid thing! Mine is the same way :p
(not sure how much of this you already know, but I'll put it up anyway. I spent a couple semesters in college in early childhood ed, so with early learning, I'm a bit of a know it all)
You don't need fancy toys for him, things that are colorful in different shapes and sizes are great for them. And even if he's playing by himself, talk to him (for language skills). Ask him what he's doing, tell him about his toys, tell him what you're doing, but avoid 'baby talk', use grown up words. Also, even though he can't verbalize his desires, ask him questions and give him choices. Hold a couple of his toys in front of him and ask him which one he wants to play with... or ask him if he wants to wear (for instance) his red shirt or his blue shirt today (yes you will be making the decision on that, but it helps him understand decision making. Then tell him why you made the decision, "We'll go with the red shirt because it matches these shorts" or something like that).
Another good thing to do is describe things to him. Describe his toys, ect. One of the things I always do is tell my son what he's eating (I also sometimes ask him what he wants, then tell him we'll have the sweet potatoes, for example, because he had the squash last night), I put the food on the spoon and for the first bite tell him "This is sweet potato" or "This is cereal". Before he starts really talking is the best time to develop language skills.
Course, I'm so geeky I pick a 'big word of the day'. Yesterday was municipal, because I had trouble pronouncing that when I was younger :p I just keep telling him about the word and using it in a sentence.
At his age he understands a lot more of language than he lets on. So to keep him learning seeing and associating objects with names/descriptions is good. If you have pets, talk about the pets. If you don't, if you see a dog or a cat while out, tell him about that (or any other animal/object). As others have said, going outside is the best thing. The outside world is constantly changing and when they're exposed to different things/stimulus, they learn more and different stimulus also creates more synapses in the brain resulting in a smarter child :) Every new experience makes him smarter, and since at his age everything is a new experience, the more he gets the smarter he becomes. Toys that are geared to make kids smarter are bull, after they are no longer new, they don't learn anything. You'd literally have to get new toys once a week to really work.
But on that note... let him play with anything safe for his age. My son loves my cell phone... though he's not really allowed to play with it exactly (I suggest cell phone insurance! Drool and electronics don't go well together ! ) because it's got buttons and slides open and closed. He can put his problem solving skills to work on it. Babies love exploring and seeing how things work, it develops the problem solving skills as well as cause and effect. So if he bangs this toy on the floor it makes this noise, this other toys makes a different noise. That's why kids love plastic dishes, containers and spoons... they make different noises and are different shapes and textures.
Okay, I'll stop going on now, but just allow him to explore (see new things, touch new things) and be exposed to lots of new things, it will make him a smarter kid :)
06-13-2009, 11:15 AM
Hehehehe... I gave my son an old cellphone of mine so he wouldn't mess up my expensive cellphone, or accidentally dial 911 while he was banging around on the keypad.
06-15-2009, 09:51 AM
Good idea, Jim! I didn't even think of that. My old cell phone is a lot like my current one. I should give him that to play with. Though he will wonder why he can't hear grandma or daddy inside 'the box', he loves it when I put it on speaker when my mom or husband calls, :)
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