When people have children they’re forever waiting for the big telegraphed milestones like the first word, or those precious first steps, and yet subtly interspersed between these wonderful landmarks are lesser known moments of joy and wonder. Those little movements or actions that signify that your child is heading in the right direction, or tell you that another stage has been passed, or another hurdle jumped. So, while you’re patiently awaiting the more celebrated stuff, here are a few special moments to look out for…
Learning about OBJECTS through play
1. When they inspect objects — it shows that they’re starting to wonder about their environment, and that their minds are expanding. You have permission to cheer, because this is a very big deal.
2. When they pick things up — it’s a sign that their fine motor skills are being honed, and they’re developing the super-important muscles in their fingers.
3. When they MOVE towards objects — you can start to get really excited! Often when children learn to walk or to swim, it’s because they’re moving towards something that they recognize – most likely a toy. It’s essentially the human equivalent of dangling the carrot in front of the donkey.
Learning about OUTCOMES through play
4. When they start putting toy bricks together — it means that they are figuring out how objects can relate to one another.
5. When they start stacking up towers — it shows that they’re learning about creating goals for themselves, and that they’re growing to understand the idea of success and achievement. Now is a good time to heap them with praise, even if the tower wobbles and topples over!
6. When they start predicting outcomes — it means that they are able to create their own narratives, they’re applying stories to the world around them. A simple example of this is just knowing that, if stacked too high, a tower is going to fall over.
Learning about THEMSELVES through play
7. When they patiently wait for their turn — it shows that they’re learning to appreciate the needs of other people. Waiting, especially for very young children, can be excruciating, so this represents a gigantic step in terms of figuring out how the world works, and it shows that they’re already learning to socialize.
8. When they become emotional after playtime — this means that they have started to feel the emotional effects of getting something right or getting something wrong. It’s a massive sign of inner growth, it shows that they are developing the emotional capacity to handle situations.
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