How To Help A One-Year-Old Learn

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Like many first-time parents, I was constantly thinking about how to help my newborn daughter progress and meet her developmental milestones. Now that she is almost 1-year-old and is already walking around the house like a boss, yet my mind has not stopped worrying.

How do I raise a smart child?

I believe many parents have the same questions. Who doesn’t want to provide the best for their babies? Especially in a world full of competition today.

After lots of research and reading, which eventually turned into interesting experiments with my baby girl, I noticed that some teaching techniques work better than others.

Teaching by Demonstrating

There is no way you can lecture a one-year-old. Not only are they too young to understand what you are saying, but they are also easy to be distracted.

After learning the benefits of STEM toys, my husband and I bought a roomful of STEM toys for our 1-year-old daughter.

One day, my husband and I tried to teach our daughter how to use a stacking ring. We brought all the parts in front of her and showed her how to put the rings on the pole. However, she didn’t seem to get it.

A few days later, we noticed that she was sitting in her playpen and trying to maneuver the stacking bar into the ring. And she did it!

Don’t underestimate a baby’s ability to copy. As a matter of fact, that’s how my daughter learned to walk at 9 months. My husband and I just took turns to demonstrate how to stand up and move the legs.

Following Your Child’s Lead

I always tell my husband, “A child knows what she wants”. When we ask my daughter to try something and she appears to be totally indifferent, we just stop and follow wherever her attention goes.

If we try to read a book to her and she brings me a toy, we will close the book and play the toy with her.

Parents need to keep in mind that babies are human beings too. Even though they can’t express themselves, they have feelings and preferences.

Therefore, don’t force a child to learn or do anything. Instead, be flexible and let them lead.

It Has To Be Fun

You can show the most brilliant invention in the world to your child, she will definitely give you a cold face and instead turn to the silliest face your husband is making.

Children don’t learn something because they think it is important and useful. Learning is just a byproduct of playing and having fun.

So parents need to shift away their focus from teaching something to enjoying something.

Rather than showing them the most sophisticated engineering system, show them the most vibrant theme park. Rather than teaching them how to use an abacus, show them how to blow bubbles! 

Take Them Outdoors

Mother Nature has a lot to offer to our kids. As a matter of fact, babies and toddlers tend to cry less when they spend time outdoors.

Besides holding your child and showing them trees, leaves, and flowers, there are many other ways to help them explore.

What worked best for us is to push our daughter in a toddler’s tricycle. Unlike strollers, tricycles don’t confine your child in a closed space. In addition, a tricycle is more interactive because your child can see her surroundings better and can play with buttons and toys near the handle bar.

Now that most of us stay at home all the time, our favorite thing is to go out to the parts, farms, and zoos on the weekend. There are so many things to learn about outside the nursery and the house.

It’s understandable that parents can be anxious to let their kids start learning at a young age. But hey, childhood is short and let your kids enjoy it! They will spend more than a decade sitting in a classroom and burying their heads in books 5 years later.

That’s why the best way to teach a one-year-old is to play with them together. You will be amazed how much a child can learn through playtime.

About the Author

Cecilia Yeung is a working mom who also founded Little Discoverer to bring developmental toy ideas for parents. Cecilia spends a lot of time studying how babies and toddlers learn. She believes that high-quality playtime is more productive and can help make kids smarter.

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