Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Seeing the new year through brand new eyes (From LRS)

‘Image via Lifes Ill on Flickr.’
For many people the New Year is a time for reinvention and new beginnings. Unlike adults, when it comes to young children, every experience is brand new. One of the most valuable gifts we can give to our young child is patience.  Allowing a child to make the most of all their new experience without interference is a gift.
The process of learning begins at birth and continues through life. Much of the first learning experiences of a child are discoveries. For example, when a child first open their eyes, they begin to discover and try to make sense of patterns, shapes and figures. The child will squint or close their eyes in bright light.   While this may seem just a reflex, it is this reflex that will help the child learn to adjust and protect their bodies in different ways.
It takes a period of time for a baby to come to the realization that their body is theirs and even that is a process in it’s self. People do not seem to realize or understand this is REAL.  At first, they may make all sorts of random movements with their limbs, but gradually over time, those movements will become more controlled. In this way, the baby is learning about many things, that we as adults, some times forget takes training, effort and repetition to learn.
During this crucial part of development, parents might feel an inclination to try to facilitate and sometimes expedite this particular learning process. Sometimes as parents watch their child observe, touch and even taste themselves for long periods of time without even touching toys they might have, they become concerned that their child just isn’t learning fast enough. This usually culminates in activities such as gripping exercises where a parent will place a toy in the child’s hand and wrap their fingers around it for them. Following that logic, should we also open their eyes for them the moment they are born?
The important thing to realize is that, though we are not all neurologists, we can at the very least recognize that internally there is an ongoing process that is taking place. We should use common sense in respecting it, and allowing the child the right to discover their own body and how it functions in their own natural way. In the same way that their eyes open and close sometimes as a response to too much light or noise, the rest of their body is also learning to adapt to new environments and situations. The best that we can do is give them some space, patience and a few different soft toys to explore. Their own curiosity, creativity and development with naturally lead them through their learning process.
Post by Magdalena Palencia

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