Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

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Title: Infant Learning

Category: Child Care


There are numerous programs recommended today to teach our infants to achieve at an early age. Early reading prior to starting school, early sports, infant gymnastics, infant swimming and hundreds of other proposals to give our children a competitive edge. Are these programs good for our children and should we be signing up? The American Academy of Pediatrics and general common sense would tell you the answer is no. Children learn best in a loving nurturing environment without lots of pressure to do things before their developmental time table is ready. I believe that we as parents are our children's first and foremost teachers and can do numerous things to help them even as infants to have a higher IQ and to be more productive individuals. I think we can do this easily by just being good parents and encouraging our children's learning in their day to day life around the home as we spend time with them without having to enroll them in these high pressured programs.

All children need nurturing and loving and playing time. The best teaching we can probably give our kids is during the time we spend everyday caring for them in and around the home. We can talk to them, sing to them, stroke them and love them, laugh at them and with them and develop their unique talents without having to use flash cards or expensive gadgets.

Lots of touching and loving and lots of good verbal stimulation help our children to develop good communicating skills. We can read them time-honored children's books, let them play with simple blocks and rattles and repeat nursery rhymes and songs to them. In rolling them around the neighborhood in a stroller we can talk to them about the beautiful passing colors, seasons and individuals they encounter. An infant's sensory system is exquisitely open to learning particularly between six and eighteen months and we can take advantage of this receptivity with lots of fun learning during our day to day sharing. Probably the single best thing we can do for our children at a young age is simply to spend time with them, sharing simple language with them as they experience the world around them.

In summary, don't feel pressured to create super babies. Relax and enjoy your babies. You will be preparing them for the future in the best way you can, not only as students but as caring, thinking human beings.