Toddlers are tiny, silly, and wonderful people whose brains are growing at a phenomenal rate. During the first three years of life, a child grows trillions (yes, trillions) of brain cell connections called neural synapses. To put that into perspective, a toddler has twice as many neural connections as an adult. It’s during infancy and toddlerhood where parents need to provide their child with emotional, physical, and cognitive rich experiences to help them learn and grow. Neural connections and patterns must be built - even for toddlers it’s a use it or lose it situation. Check out our top 10 brain boosting tips for your toddler’s development.
- Talk to your toddler. The more words a child hears gives them a better opportunity to learn and understand language. Brain boosters like cues, gestures, and repetition help your child understand exactly what you’re saying. While they may not be able to respond yet, their wheels are turning and soon enough they will be chatting away.
- Sing a song. Not only is singing fun for children, it also has the ability to help them learn numbers, letters, animal sounds, and so much more. Plus, it’s fun, and they don’t care how bad you sound.
- Engage in mirror play. Mirror play is a great way for children to learn different body parts, explore facial expressions, and have fun. Simply sit in front of a mirror with your toddler and point out different body parts or make different faces. Soon enough your child will naturally mimic your actions. This is great practice for social interactions later in life.
- Explore different textures. Toddlers are sensory learners which means that they need to touch, smell, and taste in order to understand the world around them. Ever notice how many toddler games end up in their mouth? Expose your child to things like sands, paints, cotton balls, and ice cubes. Even simple activities like sitting in the grass offers lots of opportunity to explore trees, grass, dirt, and maybe a harmless bug or two.
- Explore enrichment programs outside of the home, like The Little Gym. Not only will your toddler have the opportunity to interact with children their age, they’ll also be learning and having fun in a joyful safe environment with an age-appropriate curriculum that’ll boost child development.
- Imagination Station. Toddlers can learn and grow communication and social skills through imaginative play. Provide your child with stuffed animals, puppets, dolls, or action figures and dress up clothes like old hats, shoes, and costumes.
- Read aloud to your toddler every day to help increase language development and listening skills. Get your toddler involved in the activity by asking them to turn the page or point out specific items on each page.
- Get moving and explore! There is nothing worse than having a toddler confined to the four walls of your home (if you have a toddler, you know). Explore the neighborhood, local library, or even the mall. While you explore, point out all of the different things you see and sense (use all 5). Not only will this expose your child to different places, it will also expose them to different situations.
- Be a positive example. Your little sponge isn’t just absorbing experiences they’re having, but the experiences they witness as well. Use moments of emotional expression about feelings and expressing kindness to teach little ones about empathy and understanding. Express your own emotions of happiness and joy when interacting with your
- Opposites attract. Show your child the concept of opposites like soft / hard, big / small, inside / outside, and in / out to name a few.
Activities like The Little Gym can be another great option for busy families providing age-appropriate programs available after school, on weekends, and even when school is not in session.