Hey lovelies, I hope you’re all warm and well!
With maternity leave literally days away, I’ve been trying on overdrive trying to make sure everything is done before I leave. As an experienced childcare practitioner of 4 years, my knowledge has growth with me throughout my career. I thought I’d share some tips with you all on child development (specifically in a nursery setting). The content here will also benefit first time parents too. A little something for everyone, I hope. So lets jump straight into my top child development tips.
Make learning fun.
Children between the ages of 0-3 years learn best though play. By providing a wide range of fun activities, child are able to explore and experiments with different approaches to things. Let’s give an example, junk modelling. Saving a few every day packaging items like boxes, pots and tubes can make for some great play. Allowing children to stick, paint and build with these items helps promote their imagination, language, concentration and most importantly, they get to have fun. You can also make this a group activity to promote team work, sharing, turn taking and social skills, all while having fun with it.
Follow the interest of the child
As adults, our interests are pretty established, and sometimes focusing on something we just don’t like can be tricky right? Children work in the same ways. Their minds are still little and they’re discovering and building interests every day. It can be quite clear to see what a child likes and what they don’t. Expecting a child who really doesn’t like getting messy to get involved in some gloop or body painting is a little unrealistic. Therefore you aren’t going to get the best out of them. Focus more on what they enjoy and go with their interests.
Taking risks and provide challenges.
Obviously I’m not suggesting that you let a one year old freely climb a large frame in the park, but allowing a little risk and challenge will help promote their confidence. Allowing them to see how far they can push themselves. My work place recently gave pre-school children the opportunity to experience construction at more grown up (and a little risky) level. Children were given a block of wood, some nails and a hammer. With close supervision, children got to use these tools for purpose. They spoke about how to use them safely and it made for a really lovely activity that they spoke about all day.
Children watch our every move, and they’re taking it all in (trust me). Not much gets past those little ears and eyes, so it’s really important to role model the behaviours you’d expect from these kiddies. If you’re trying to develop a child’s language, you wouldn’t not speak to them. Similarly if you’re encouraging a child to try something new, get involved. Let them see and hear what it’s all about. A child is much more likely to try something different if they see others participating, and that means you too. If you’re finger painting, get your hands mucky with them. Leading by example is a very effective form of child development.
Praise and Reward.
Imagine you’ve achieved something you’ve been working at for ages, and done it to the best of your ability. That would feel pretty great huh? It would feel even better if you got some recognition and appreciation from someone else wouldn’t it? Of course it would, and you’d want to do it more. Children work in the same way. Let’s say a child has been practising writing the first letter of their name. It isn’t something that happens over night. It takes hard work and perseverance to get there. Don’t let that go unnoticed. Tell the child they’re doing a great job. Let them know you’ve acknowledged their efforts. They’re much more likely to continue.
Rewards can be a little bit of a grey area. When I first started in childcare, I thought of a reward like a certificate, or a sticker chart with a prize at the end. A reward doesn’t have to be a physical object. It can be as simple as “if you help me tidy away these bricks, you can chose a group story for us all to read” or “you’ve done a really lovely painting, let’s put it on the display board for everyone to see”. This gives children a real sense of achievement and takes away that “bribery” feel.
That rounds up my top 5 child development tips. I hope you’ve found this useful and can start implementing something new to help your little ones flourish and grow.
Let me know in the comments below your tips on child development. I’d love to know what you find effective in the classroom or at home.
Take a peek at my sensory pinterest board for some great play ideas
Kisses and Love