The one-year-old problem solver
Your baby’s brain is developing. She
can now solve simple problems.
This is an important new skill. For
example, when your baby holds a
mechanical toy out to you and says,“Huh,” her brain is working hard.
She knows that the toy will work if
someone turns the key. She knows that she can’t turn the key. So she
hands the toy to you. You can turn the key and make the toy work. She is
solving a problem.
Your baby solves problems when she pulls a string to move a toy closer.
She learns by trial and error that hammering on a pot makes more noise
than pounding on the floor.
Babies use problem-solving skills to stack boxes, pull off shoes and socks
or push chairs to use for climbing. Babies might work for several minutes
opening a container that holds cereal for a snack.
Your baby needs your approval when she masters a task. Clap and
encourage her. She will be more likely to try to solve new problems and to
develop new brain skills.
Your baby probably prefers to use either her left hand or her right hand
for most tasks. You might notice, for example, that she prefers to hold a
spoon with her right hand. She picks up toys with her right hand. And she
usually turns the pages of a book with her right hand.
People used to think that being left-handed was bad. Today we know that it
doesn’t matter which hand a person uses. Complex brain chemistry
determines which hand a person prefers. If your baby prefers using her left
hand, let her. With your support, she will be as successful as a right-handed
child when she feeds herself, plays with toys and does art projects.
Building life skills
Life skills are tasks that children learn. They use life skills to take care of
themselves. Examples of life skills are eating, dressing and grooming. These
skills let children become more independent and confident.
You can practice life skills throughout the day. At mealtime, encourage
your baby to feed herself with a spoon or with her fingers. Let her drink
from a cup. Encourage independent tooth brushing. Offer your baby a
second brush to hold while you clean her teeth. Put a stool near the sink
to make hand washing easier.
Let her help with dressing and undressing. Let your baby pull up her own
pants or take off her own socks and shoes. Let her help with clean-up tasks,
too. Talk about putting toys back on a storage shelf, and let her help you do it.
Don’t expect your baby to master these skills any time soon. She may put
her pants on backward. She will probably spill more than she eats. She
wants to do things for herself but will get frustrated easily. Learning these
skills takes practice. Offer your support and be patient. Your child is
learning skills that will last a lifetime.
This content has been provided freely by CMC. Click Healthy Start, Grow Smart—Your-Twelve-Month-Old for your free download. Click GreatDad Free Ebook to download the entire Health Start, Grow Smart series.
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