Check out our Read, Talk, Play pages for more tips and fun activities to do with your child.
Birth - 2 Learn Best From You
What infants and toddlers need most to learn is interaction with the people around them. That doesn't mean that they shouldn't video-chat with a distant grandparent or a deployed parent, but when it comes to day-to-day learning they need to touch things, shake them, throw them, and most of all to see the faces and hear the voices of those they love the most. Apps can teach toddlers to tap and swipe at a screen, but studies tell us that these skills don't translate into real-world learning.
Paper vs. Electronic
Neuroscience research shows that paper-based content is better connected to memory in our brains (Bangor University). So while electronics are becoming more and more prevalent in our day-to-day life, keep printed books the main form of reading in your home.
When reading an e-book, the moment that book becomes interactive, the part of the brain engaged in the activity changes and it no longer is an activity that builds literacy skills. There is no give and take here, electronics should be an enhancement and not a replacement.
© 2016 The Children's Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia
Young Children and Technology
What do we know?
83% of children ages 6 months to 6 years use screens everyday to play, learn, or read. Infants younger than age 2 do not learn well from digital media.
At this age they have limited understanding of what they see and hear on the screen. Apps and e-books with many interactive features can have a negative impact on children's learning. For example, pop ups, embedded games and hotspots make it difficult for children to focus on important details.
What can be done?Limit your child's access to digital media before the age of 2.
Set rules to be sure children 2-5 years aren't getting too much screen time. A good guideline is to limit your children between 2-5 years of age to no more than 1 -2 hours per day of TV, computers, or other devices.
Choose apps that are age appropriate and have clear learning goals. Read e-books together with your child and ask questions about what he/she is seeing, reading and playing
What You Do Matters
Reading, talking, and playing with your child ensures that their brain development has a strong foundation for future learning. What you do in your child’s earliest years matters greatly in their future school success.
The ratio of books to children in middle-income neighborhoods was 13 books to one child, while in low income neighborhoods the ratio was one book to 300 children. (Neumann, 2001)
Singing Builds Language Skills
Studies have shown that children's vocabulary at 30 months was influenced by the quantity (number) of words a parent used one year earlier – This means that children aged 12-24 months benefit from hearing lots of talk and many examples of words.
Talk to Your Little One
Learning to talk is a process that starts at birth, when your baby experiences how voices can sound. By 2 years old, most babies have a large vocabulary and can put words together to express their needs and ideas.
"Play is really the work of childhood. " - Fred Rogers
Playing is Learning
Playing with your baby begins by engaging all of his senses. His eyes, ears, nose, hands, and mouth are his tools. As he grows, he learns to use his body to make discoveries. He begins to reach and grasp (watch out for long hair and dangling earrings!), which allows him to explore toys in new ways. By the time he’s 9 months, he will understand cause and effect: “I push the button to make the music play.”
Boost Brain Development
Your child's brain is beginning to develop areas that make it possible to use imagination. Play, laughter, kisses and hugs make the caring areas of the brain active. More of these experiences help these areas become stronger.