By the age of three, much of the child’s brain growth and density is complete. What started as a relatively small number of connections now number in the trillions. By the end of this period, the critical periods for some skills such as speech begin to close, so vocabulary building is very important. At the end of this stage, brain patterns for music begin to develop. By the age of three, the neurological network that will guide a child’s development is already well established; however, it does not mean that learning for the young child is over.
For a parent of caregiver it is important to remember to interact with your child daily with love, praise, play, conversation song and discipline. Discipline is a huge factor during this period of development. We have all heard of the “Terrible Twos”.
Here are tips to enhance your child’s intellectual development from age 2 to 3.
- Find a scheduled time to read to your child every day. Choose books with big pictures, sturdy pages, and simple story lines. Remember, most children have short-attention spans during this period.
- A child will be improving her knowledge of words and sentence structure during this period. Let her hear the correct word order, but don’t demand that she imitate you. For example, if she says “mote juice,” say, “Jane wants more juice.”
- Encourage him to identify noises. “Do you hear that dog barking?”
- Let the child help with chores. “Let’s pick up all our toys and put them in the toy box. Can you bring blue bear and put him in the box?” She’ll love helping with laundry. “Let’s count all the socks as we put them in the washing machine—1, 2, 3, 4, 5.” Math development is very important during this stage too.
- Add new information to what a child is saying. “Yes, that’s a blanket, a soft, warm blanket.” Children wire through experiences, so take time to let him feel that the blanket is soft and warm.
- Give your toddler clear and simple choices. “Do you want to wear the blue or green socks? Do you want milk or juice?”
- Know how to handle a temper tantrum.
- Don’t yell or hit the child,
- Remain calm,
- Talking in soothing tones,
- Being consistent, having a schedule, setting limits, and providing limited choices are very important.
- Development of creative expressive is very important during this stage. Provide newspaper, flattened grocery sacks, and commuter scraps for drawing and painting. Provide plenty of praise for his accomplishments.
- Give your child the opportunity to learn about cause and effect by giving her many opportunities to fill, dump, collect, gather, give, hide, and seek. Toddlers love messy play. Encourage sand, mud, clay, and water play.
- Provide space where your toddler can spend time alone. An old cardboard box or a blanket over a card table works great.
- Provide safe outlets for physical activity and space exploration like small steps, boxes, barrels, tires, pulling and pushing toys, and ride-on and ride-in toys.
- Don’t forget play between the two of you. Fun and bonding between the two of you is very important to learning. Songs like “Old MacDonald” explain sequences. Songs and rhymes are very important to the development of vocabulary and language.
- Don’t pressure your child to be right or left-handed. A few two-year-olds will begin to show a preference for one hand, but many will continue to use both hands for a year or two.
The Be Smart Kids Learning program develops these skills for 2 to 3-year-olds:
language development, speech development, vocabulary, math & logic, spatial/visual skills, fine motor skills, social & emotional skills, reasoning skills, creative expression, attention span, sign language, Spanish, character-building, and a love for learning.