You’ll probably shake your head with disdain and amusement, while thinking, “Yours and everyone else’s kid… yeah, right!” when I tell you what I’m thinking.
Our three year old grandson is REALLY smart. No, I mean REALLY, REALLY smart! How did this happen? Well, let me start by making an observation. Kids today, in general, are very smart. They are often much smarter than their counterparts of, say, 30+ years ago. Although I make this generalization, there’s more to this than meets the eye. While many kids are smart, some might only appear to be average, and only some of them show their potential. Many kids are not recognized for the smarts they have, or are capable of. But I believe they are actually much smarter than we perceive them to be. Here’s why I hold these beliefs.
Kids are exposed to so much external stimulation, in the immediate world around them, starting from infancy.
Kids converse with adults, and adults converse with kids far more than they did in years gone by. In past times the old adage was that “kids should be seen and not heard.” Both adults and kids held up to that standard back in the day, but not today.
Have you watched some of the TV shows toddlers are watching these days? I must admit that some of the BBC shows are instilling magnanimous vocabularies in our children. Not only do kids use these words but they use them in context, correctly. Bravo!
Technology has become much more readily available to all children and they have a propensity for navigation that puts many of their seniors to shame. With the availability of technology comes a plethora of learning and interaction never before available to young people. While children still have the toys of years gone by, many also have laptop notebooks, Kindles, Nooks, or iPads. If they don’t own some computerized device personally, they are available in libraries, and in the classroom. In the absence of mid-sized computers they may still have access to smartphones.
So, here’s my message: Tune in to those shows with your toddlers. Use the vocabulary you hear therein. Take advantage of that technology. Don’t be so quick to give your children a video game. Rather, do the research, find some interactive stories and learning tools, and add them to your technological gadget of choice. Let your kids explore in the safety of your presence. But, most importantly, interact with your kids, by knowing how they’re interacting with said technology. Talk with them. Ask open ended questions that make them think before they can respond. Listen, I mean, REALLY LISTEN, to what they have to say. Compliment their thoughtfully crafted responses. Laugh with them. Learn with them.
You will never be disappointed with what they have learned and what they have to teach you. You will be impressed by the vocabulary they are using. And, you will find delight every step of the way, in their antics and in their enthusiasm, not only for learning, but for teaching.
What’s your experience with today’s toddlers? How do you create learning experiences for your toddlers? Please leave a response below.