Brain Development — The Third Year
The first three years of life are a critical time for brain development, but sometimes we as parents can be at a loss as to how to help and challenge our little ones as they grow. By the time your little one is two, she is stringing words together into short phrases, doing things more independently and exploring her world. It’s important to understand that each stage of development builds on previous stages, and it is still important to hold, hug and talk to your little one like you did when she was a baby. We’ve got some tips for adding to your support of her development as you both navigate this third year of life.
Emotions and Imagination
Even though your little one is speaking better each day, she still struggles to verbalize her emotions. When she gets frustrated, try to provide her with the words to describe what she is experiencing. Address the issue and then help her with a solution. For example, maybe she can’t find a favorite toy.
First, let her know that you understand she is frustrated that she can’t find it. Then talk her through finding it, “first let’s look under the couch…what about in your toy box? Have you checked in the kitchen?” This will help her build not only verbal skills, but also problem-solving skills.
At this age, playing is learning. The best way for you to bond with your little one and encourage her development at the same time is by playing with her. Her imagination is growing and you can help her learn by giving her new ideas and joining into her activities. She will watch you play and learn from what you say and do.
Activity and Exploration
The age of two is a very active year for your toddler—but she probably also gets bored easily. It is important to have a variety of activities for her to participate in. One week you may practice throwing and kicking balls in the back yard. The next week you may go swimming at a community pool. Even if you think she is “too young” to really enjoy something or know what’s going on, still give it a shot at least once. Introducing her to new activities will help her brain development as she faces new challenges.
As the two of you are trying out new activities, try to be flexible as your little one gets distracted. If something catches her attention, give her space to explore safely under your watchful eye. If she turns to you in question, you can describe what she is seeing that caught her attention. This is important because there may be things that you take for granted that are new and intriguing to her. By encouraging exploration, you’re helping your toddler learn about independence and the world around her.
You can also treat every day moments as learning moments for your two-year-old by staying consistently engaged and seeking out ways to practice things you’re learning. If you ever find yourself at a loss for how to encourage healthy development, think back to the basics: the five senses, colors, shapes, animals, counting, etc. As always, we are here to be of support to you. Please contact us anytime Care@theollieworld.com.