How to Encourage Mental and Emotional Development in a Toddler

It is the goal of every parent to see to it that their toddler grows up to be happy, healthy, and intelligent. In order to achieve this, parents must take an active role in encouraging the mental and emotional development of their toddler. Let us take a look at some important guidelines that all Moms and Dads should know in order to attain this goal.

Communicate and Describe

Always converse with your toddler about anything and everything. Make it a point to ask open-ended questions and use adjectives for description. For example, instead of saying “Do you see the chicks?”, ask instead, “What do you think the chicks are doing?” By doing so, you promote the development of intelligent thinking and vocabulary formation in your child.

Improve Your Child’s Memory and Recall

If you have gone out with your toddler to the zoo, shopping mall or other location, make it a point to recall the things that your child may have seen, saw, smelled, touched or tasted. Encourage your child to recount the day’s events and have them tell you what he or she did or did not like about it. Give your toddler enough time to remember what he or she did and also so that they would not be rushed into expressing what they had experienced. If your child does not answer, you might want to offer a few helpful suggestions. If your child still remains unresponsive, you can answer your own questions yourself and tell him/her what you liked about your day. This will encourage your toddler to open up to you regarding his/her own experiences.

Encourage Interactive Activities with Your Toddler

Although the current toy market has been flooded with a number of electronic games and other gadgets, it is still best to sit down and play with your child. Set an hour or two in your day in which you can just sit down on the floor and play with your child. You can tinker with dolls, tools, kitchen sets, cars, and other toys. You can also do play-acting with hand puppets. By creating an imaginary world with your child, not only do you promote creativity and imagination, you also can help them to develop good habits and skills.

Encourage Expression of Feelings

At a very early age, children should be encouraged by their parents to express their feelings. If they are feeling happy, sad, angry or other strong emotion, sit down and talk to them about their feelings. You can also develop empathy in your child by explaining to them how their emotions also affect you. You can say “I feel bad because you’re feeling sick, but I can help you by…” or “I am very happy that you are having a lot of fun.” If your child does something bad, make it a point to explain to them in the simplest terms how their words or actions made you feel and why they should not do it again.

Say “Because” Often

When you ask a toddler to do something for you or you tell them that they should stop doing a bad thing, most likely, they will ask you “Why?” Start with the word “Because” and explain to them why they should perform a certain activity. If they understand your reasons why they should do something, the more they will do the activity.

React Appropriately to Good and Bad Behaviors

Good behaviors are best encouraged by giving your toddler a praise or a small treat. The most effective reward is what is called a “random-based reward”, meaning you give your toddler a special treat for good behaviors when they least expect it. In the case of bad behavior, you should not delay in reacting. You should explain to them right then and there that what they did was bad. Also, it is important that you practice consistency. Your toddler will learn faster that they cannot do certain behaviors if you are quick to react to them.

Be A Good Role Model

While you may not be aware of it, your toddlear is always watching you, even when you think that he or she is doing something else. If you want your toddler to be on their best behavior, be a good role model to them by also giving respect and courtesy to the people around you. If you are angry or upset, do not blow your stack. Instead, take a deep breath and think about how you should properly react. If your child sees you behaving properly, he or she is likely to follow your example.

Encourage Independent Learning

While it is the natural instinct of parents to always be on hand to help their toddlers with everything to prevent injuries, it is not advisable in certain situations. If you want your child to learn how to become independent, you should allow him or her to fall or make mistakes.

Use the above guidelines to encourage mental, social and emotional growth in your child.

1 comment

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