The adult's role is to make it easier for the child to understand their surroundings to bond. There is increasing evidence showing the impacts on child development of positive and receptive interactions with adults. For example, it has been shown that when teachers intentionally manage behavioral aspects, they attend to the child's interests and channel their attention receptively; children improve their classroom behavior and also have better academic performance.
Toys, siblings, other children in the care center or at school are necessary and contribute to the learning process. But they are not enough. Child development is enhanced by interaction with the adult caregiver - at home or in the care center, where many children spend a considerable proportion of their time. In addition, consistency the presence of a primary caregiver in each environment gives security to the child and reinforces their self-esteem.
Next, we explore 5 ways adults can empower children's learning:
1. Attend the signals and follow their interests
Beyond offering affection and affection, fundamental in and of them, the adult can identify and respond to the child's forms of communication, for example:
- Naming the object or action of your interest: “What are you pointing out? Ah! The book of tales of the sun and the moon! ”
- Responding if the child smiles or babbles when performing an action: "You like to tickle your feet, right?"
- Talk about what is happening: “Yes! I'm putting on your socks so you don't have cold feet. ”
2. Introduce new concepts, naming everything in the environment. During the bath, for example, talk about how cold or hot the water is, of dry and wet, of the parts of the body, mentioning them and pointing them out. Or at lunchtime, take the opportunity to talk about the textures, sizes, shapes, and colors of food.
3. Expand the child's knowledge.
When they watch or read stories together if the child says: "Wow-wow," adds: "Yes, it is a large dog and has four legs!", Pointing to them.
4. Play! Playing is the main means of learning for the child, as well as great fun.
By playing, the adult can participate and enhance the role-play — remember that children imitate everything adults do! - Or introduce challenges and problems that the child has to solve: playing to open a jar and take out what is inside, to assemble a puzzle, to find an object like technology that we have hidden and a long etcetera.
5. Recognize and reinforce attempts and achievements in a positive way: congratulate the child with applause, with kisses, verbalizing his achievement and his attempts, thus promoting his self-esteem and encouraging him to continue learning.
Benefits of adult interaction
All these practices help the child in many ways:
1. Developing your language. They expose and familiarize you with many new words — that you understand, internalize, and that you will gradually introduce into your own vocabulary.
2. Promoting their cognitive and motor abilities. The child becomes familiar with complex concepts such as to cause and effect, or the permanence of objects (the object does not disappear simply because you no longer see it).
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3. Developing and stimulating aspects of executive function, such as attention, perseverance, self-regulation, among others, through facing and overcoming challenges.
4. Promoting their creativity and their socio-emotional development. Promoting attachment, the affectionate bond between the child and the adult caregiver, weaving a warm and close relationship between them.
5. Causing your curiosity and encouraging you to want to learn new things.