Learning Through Play (page 2)
Your baby tries to play with everything. And everything she plays with teaches her something new. She learns from toys, books and household items. She also learns from interactions with people.
If your baby has older brothers and sisters, she will watch to see how they play with toys. Your baby will want to play the same way. She imitates and copies what other people do.
If your baby is with another child of the same age, she will watch the other child. Sometimes she will copy that child's play. The children may play side by side. But they probably won't interact except to mimic one another.
Your baby will learn most from her interactions with you. Your patience and support will teach her independence. Your encouragement will help her learn that she is unique and has special skills. Your guidance and consistency will help her feel safe. In return, she will share her learning and success.
Building Life Skills
Life skills are tasks that children learn. They use life skills to take care of themselves. Examples of life skills are eating, dressing, and grooming. These skills let children become more independent and confident
You can practice life skills throughout the day. At mealtime, encourage your baby to feed herself with a spoon or with her fingers. Let her drink from a cup. Encourage independent tooth brushing. Offer your baby a second brush to hold while you clean her teeth. Put a stool near the sink to make hand washing easier.
Let her help with dressing and undressing. Let your baby pull up her own pants or take off her own socks and shoes. Let her help with clean-up tasks, too. Talk about putting toys back on a storage shelf, and let her help you do it.
Don't expect your baby to master these skills any time soon. She may put her pants on backward. She will probably spill more than she eats. She wants to do things for herself but will get frustrated easily. Learning these skills takes practice. Offer your support and be patient. Your child is learning skills that will last a lifetime.
Reprinted with the permission of the Education Resources Information Center.
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