Writing and drawing: what can my little one do at each stage?

Being able to write or draw is a huge accomplishment for your little one! Like all aspects of development these skills are acquired in a gradual process that involves more advanced and complex skills each time. Since your baby is born, she starts to work on her finger and hand movements that, later on, will allow her to hold a crayon and scribble. From this point, there are several stages that she’ll go through while practicing her writing and drawing.

Random Scribbling
Starting at about 16 months, your daughter will begin to scribble in a random way. She will start to realize that her arm movements create the lines she sees on the page. At this point she’ll be able to hold the crayon with her whole fist and her scribbles will be produced with large arm movements (originated from the shoulder).

Controlled Scribbling
As she develops more control over her hand and finger muscles, she’ll begin to make more controlled lines and scribbles. You might see that she repeats the same lines (vertical, horizontal, diagonal, etc.) over and over again, practicing. Continue reading

How to play with your little one

It’s well known that play is crucial for the development of babies and toddlers. It’s how they explore and learn new things about the world, acquire new skills, practice their creativity, and experience social interactions. Here are a few tips for you to get the most out of this time of the day!

Follow your little one’s lead when playing. Don’t worry if he doesn’t use a certain toy the way it’s supposed to be used, let him explore and teach you new ways to have fun.

Be patient. Show your little one how the toys work, but let him have his time handling them. Provide just enough help, but don’t do everything for him, even if it takes him more time to complete challenges.

Pay attention to your little one’s cues. Because he’s still developing language skills and self-control, he might not always know how to say what he wants or how to react when he’s frustrated. But if you pay attention and read his signals, you could jump in before he gets overly upset. These signals could be anything from sounds to facial expressions and gestures. Continue reading

Children’s theory of mind

As adults, we understand that others have their own thoughts, beliefs, and desires; that is, they have their own way of thinking. But we’ve not always been aware of this. To be able to make accurate deductions about others’ intentions and beliefs, children need to develop a theory of mind. To illustrate this with an example let’s tell a brief story. “A little girl places all her toy blocks in one container and then leaves the room. Meanwhile, someone comes in and rearranges the room, changing the blocks to a different box. Later, the little girl returns and wants to build a block tower. Where would she look for the blocks?”. As different studies have shown, younger kids will probably answer that she would open the box where the blocks actually are, and it’s not until about 4 or 5 years of age that children understand that what the little girl believes is not necessarily what is real, thus they will be able to answer that she would look in the original container where she placed the blocks.

Having a theory of mind has a huge impact on children, as it transforms the way they are able to see others and make sense of their actions. Basically, the theory of mind serves children in two major developmental areas: social and cognitive. Continue reading