Many parents are now captured by the idea of early childhood development: almost from the cradle they acquaint baby with letters, when that is two years, trying to teach reading and arithmetic, and is connected to three years in a foreign language. In fact, young children can demonstrate the wonders of learning, affecting adults extraordinary early childhood skills. However, more and more frequently to assess the effects of early development can hear skeptical voices. Experts are sounding the alarm: “little geeks” in a few years all of a sudden throw reading, loses interest in school activities and in general no longer interested in anything. What’s the matter? This is what we have talked with a psychologist and mother of three children Marina Melia , author of the book “The secret of the first year of life.”
“I feel sorry for children who at birth lead to development centers”
Marina, why the idea of early development has become so popular? What is behind it?
As is known, the physiological basis of intelligence is the brain. Recently we have seen an explosion of brain research, numerous publications about the newly discovered features of its development and functioning. Active and ambitious parents are acquainted with these studies and under their influence tend to start teaching their children as early as possible.
What research do you mean? We know that in the first three years of life the brain grows and develops most intensively. Already in the first six months after birth, it reaches 50% of its adult potential, and to three years – 80%. By this time is substantially complete formation of the brain volume and density is formed over three million kilometers neural fibers and 70-80% neuronal connections. In the first year of a child absorbs information at an incredible speed. It is also known that during the period of intensive development of the brain is extremely sensitive to outside influence. That is why parents and teachers try not to miss as suitable for training and development of the child time. However, few people realize how adequate their chosen methods of influence and what their consequences.
the parents and the child may encounter What negative consequences of early learning?
We often see how little intellectuals, showing brilliance in literature or math, are completely helpless when it is necessary to perform a simple “domestic” activities. For example, a child of four years had already read books, solve examples and “walks” on the internet, but can not fasten itself no buttons or tie shoelaces or wash your hands so as not to splash water all over the bathroom …
The fact that the brain – it’s not just a homogeneous mass of neurons and a complex system consisting of a plurality of sub-structures which are responsible for different processes. These structures do not ripen at the same time and in a certain sequence from stem and subcortical structures in the cortex (bottom-up), from the rear to the front of the brain (back to front) from the right hemisphere to the left (right to left). In other words, first formed the departments responsible for the senses, movement and emotions of the perception of space and rhythm for the supply of energy only just developing memory, attention, thinking. And only then – those departments that provide sophisticated control functions, speech, ability to read, write. The duration of each stage of life and move to the next strictly regulated by objective neurobiological laws.
If the problem is that we offer a child is in conflict with the actual brain maturation process, or ahead of it, there is a kind of “power robbing”: as if we avert our energy in a different direction, and the unplanned power loss inhibit those brain processes, which in this the time prescribed by nature to develop actively. When we try to teach the baby two or three years to read, write and count, the cerebral cortex is overloaded, and this delayed load “drains” subcortical structures, which at this time just in the active period of development. The consequences of such energy extraction may be delayed: it is in a healthy and intellectual development of the child is seven years old “suddenly” appear enuresis, obsessive movements, fears, adolescent – emotional breakdown, aggression or frightening passivity.
It turns out that we are not taking care of the development of the root system, stems trying to grow a fragile miracle fruit, pumping them all sorts of artificial additives. But no wonder they say: “Each vegetable – its time.” “The time factor” must be taken into account when we demand from the child perform a given task.
In this case you need to make the parents to the child’s intelligence is fully and harmoniously developed?
Firstly, the development of the baby should be gradual, without abrupt jumps in the optimal rate – the child can not be customized, “train”. To his intellectual inclinations maximally opened, that is fully earned the cerebral cortex and are coordinated neuronal connections, must be allowed to ripen at the beginning of subcortical formations responsible for emotions, perception, movement, etc. So, our task – to ensure the baby with a loving adult chat and the ability to move, to explore the world. Instead of endlessly “develop” the child, show him the pictures with images of letters, objects and animals, it is better just to be with him, to wear on your hands together to look around and enjoy the fellowship.
When I have to see the kids, which they are caring parents for days lead into English, music, gymnastics, rather than a child living at home, listening to the stories that reads mom, sculpted with grandma pies, running a race with a dog and played his favorite toy I feel sorry for both children and, of course, parents.
Second, the baby intelligence – is not the same as that of the adult intellect. When we call intelligent adult, then, as a rule, we have in mind his erudition, ability to analyze, organize, summarize. When it comes to children, who will be in a year or two to sit at the desk, we focus on their ability to read, write and count. But how can we speak about the intelligence of a tiny child, if he still can not neither one nor the other, nor the third? For the first year of life the baby psychologists distinguish different components of intelligence: it is a reaction to the new (curiosity), cognitive activity and the development of speech.
Let’s talk more about these three components. So curiosity . The reaction to the novelty or curiosity, perhaps, can be considered the forerunner of the intellect. When the baby is alive reacts to a new person or a new toy, listening to the sounds, looks into subjects falling within the field of vision when he is happy, hearing the voice of mom or seeing her face, we admiringly say, “Wow, how clever …” .
And we are right! Even two or three months babies can distinguish the color, shape and structure of moving objects. Moreover, they can create a complex image of the object by combining information coming from different senses. In one experiment, six-month babies given pacifiers of different shapes: smooth and knobby. Child his nipple did not see, but unmistakably recognize it when he showed both nipples at the same time. He looked at it longer than that, you just suck.
This proves that even in a very early age, children have a basic understanding about the world, so they respond to emerging changes and not just passively accept everything that happens around. They are able to anticipate events and wonder if something goes “wrong”. If a baby’s birth there, or so early acquired “knowledge” about the world, it would be strange to ignore them.
At the time, Joseph Feyganom was even developed a test that assesses the intelligence of babies. During the test the children for some time, first show a single image, and then the two: the first – that they have seen, and the second – a new, unfamiliar. Kids that longer look at a new image, that is, “prefer novelty,” are curious, as they grow older, tend to show a higher level of intelligence than children who do not show interest in the new.
Furthermore, cognitive activity . The world around us is a baby great interest, but he still does not speak, does not read, can not fill us with questions, and therefore the development of movements actively explores his “habitat” all available for him ways: missing items, he tries to feel, drags mouth, trying to taste, lick, throws to the floor, knocking them against the wall …
So, through the movement of the eyes, tongue, hands, moving in the space of the child come first representations of objects and phenomena. On the hand, and the language is a huge number of nerve endings. Hence, information is constantly transmitted to the brain, where it is compared with the data of visual, auditory and olfactory receptors, and in the mind of the baby develops a holistic view of the subject.
The child not only absorbs impressions, he constantly experiments: what will happen if thrown out of the crib all the toys? And what if you shake my dad’s phone? How to make a rattle rattle again? By their first birthday baby begins to slowly realize causal relationship: you pull the rope – prityanesh to himself bound to her subject, you press on the switch button – light up or light will go off. He likes such manipulation, and it tends to repeat them again and again. Actions to help the baby to grasp objects better properties (weight, size, shape, density, color) and learn how to compare them, you have to perform their very first “smart operation”.
Finally, speech . Paradoxical as it sounds, the development of speech – it is one of the most important parameters of the baby intelligence. Yes, the child does not say, but hear, and in the first year of his life training his kid articulation apparatus, he listens to the speech of adults, especially if it is addressed to him, trying to understand it, is ready to communicate, seeks to emulate. Already in the second half of the year we can judge how effective is the process and develop a passive voice: a child responds to our words with concrete actions. For example, an eight-month daughter, my friend request to “show the hedgehog” funny wrinkled face and snorts. And such examples one can cite dozens.
To summarize, then a baby we are, relatively speaking, we can assume “smart”?
It is not necessary that the child to his first birthday already said shows the numbers and letters. Rather, we should celebrate how he is curious whether its surrounding objects, whether it is a new, as it is sensitive are interested in exploring the world around him, listening to a conversation, whether there is a contact with us, trying to whether to say something to us on his childhood language – all this will be indicators of intellectual development in the first year of his life.
What should parents do to develop the child in this direction?
You know, parents are now given such a mass of a variety of recommendations that my head is spinning. After analyzing a myriad of literature and see what is done in practice, I made a paradoxical conclusion: if the mother really wants to contribute to the intellectual development of their child, “a long-term view,” it is necessary to focus on the three “directions of shock.” Let us call them: the heat, space and borders.
Average child’s mental development is impossible without the warm, emotionally saturated, intensive communication with an adult. It is an adult (and first female) – the person, due to which the baby has the opportunity to reach their potential.
How to create such conditions?
It’s simple. Methods of communication to invent it is not necessary, they are simple and natural – they know each sensitive and loving mother to respond to the crying, comforting, rocking, cradle, sing baby songs, often taking on the hands, hugging, kissing, tickling, tossing, admire it, be moved , smile, admire the new action, use the time when the baby is awake, for socializing and games.
Stunning effects have all kinds of nursery rhymes and pestushki that accompanies the mother dressing, bathing, playing, massage. They are passed on from generation to generation and preserved almost intact. Everyone knows “Ladushki-Okay, where were? – Grandmother, “” Forty-crow porridge cooked “,” Vodicka Vodicka, wash my face. ” Pestushek set on each case has its own:.. When a child wakes up when his mom washes, when he learns to roll over when he’s in pain, etc. They are very rhythmic, folding, elevate mood and my mother and the baby, help get the pleasure of communicating and have a positive impact on the overall development of the baby.
At first glance, it does not fit in the usual context of the conversation about the intelligence. But this special atmosphere of warmth, attention and care allows the child to grow and develop fully. In order to learn something – to walk, climb, collect a pyramid, put the dice on the dice, kid hundreds of times have to try it, hundreds of times to experience failure. Where did he get such an ability to cope, and not to despair? From an adult, which is near and with whom he has a deep emotional connection, whom he trusts. For example, a child reaching for a toy and not reaching out, it falls and hits. He was crying bitterly, asking for her mother to handle. She takes it, hugging, stroking his bruised place, he sees her smile, serene look exhilarating “eye to eye”. He did not have to worry about anything, nothing to fear. He defended, took care of him. he can fully immerse themselves in absolute safety in their experience and sob stress. And as soon as he calmed down and lowered to the floor, he can once again explore the world and try to master that very toy. He was not scared.
This is an important condition for the development of cognitive activity. Only in this case, the child will want to “grab” and “climb” to learn and explore. It is interesting again, he again opened to the world. And if such a caring adult in a child is not a defender or he suddenly somewhere has got, kid falls in the truest sense of the word to fight for survival, all the power to give to overcome stress. So, it is no longer any work to explore new, nor even to the world around.
The thesis of the cognitive activity depending on the strength of the child’s emotional connection with an adult once confirmed experimentally?
Yes, experiments conducted in this area. For example, in a research lab MI Lisina with a six-month infant from the child’s home conducted 50 sessions of eight minutes each. Adult communicate with the baby, as does a loving mother – caressed him, stroking, bother, smiling and murmuring endearments. And it turned out that the children who received their own, albeit small, portion of impressions grew faster than babies in the control group, which “additives” of emotion and tenderness did not get. The first is better oriented in space for longer play with toys, most actively investigated subjects while having involved the hands, eyes and mouth.
In another experiment, was attended by kids from 9 to 12 months: adult took the child in his arms, played with him, led by the handle around the room, uttered something affectionate, etc. In just 20 lessons the children were transformed:.. Disappeared tension, they became more relaxed, cheerful, happy to come into contact, often themselves initiate communication with an adult. Tests on active speech and speech understanding adult showed their superiority over the children in the control group. Of course, these striking effects can be long-lasting, without the continuation of regular communication with an adult, unfortunately, come to naught.
But when in closed institutions for children in England have tried to overcome the shortage of emotions at the expense of mechanical ekstrastimulyatsii (in the morning and afternoon for 10 minutes included the automatic rocking or adult as long stood at the cradle of the baby and monotonously read aloud to him), then no, even short-term beneficial effect on the development of the child is not there. It was not important – warm emotional contact with an adult.
It is a living communion with a loving adult provides everything necessary not only for the emotional well-being and his baby psychological comfort, but also for the development of his intellect. No toys, no training techniques will not replace in infancy or gentle hands or caressing mother look.
And if the adult does not know how to hold the baby all day, how to communicate with him?
Indeed, it is difficult to do something with your child “just so”, because in our dynamic time, we are not accustomed to act without a purpose, a plan, a predetermined algorithm. If we are going somewhere, we need to know where and why. And we feel quite helpless when you just need to spend time with the child, frolic, fun, babysit – for many it is an impossible task.
Some succumbed to the temptation in the form of all kinds of rugs and developing systems that exempt the parents from having to entertain the baby. Now the best way to sell any game – write on the box: “The child will play alone.” These mats and complexes themselves rustle, rattle, playing music to them a lot of pictures, hanging toys, etc. It’s really good and for a while you can leave the baby alone. But it is necessary to understand that this method of “take” of the child should not be a major.
The saving lifesaver for parents can be playing together. We call it a game to some extent arbitrary, because for the child this is a natural, emotionally filled, warm fellowship. But for us, this is the canvas on which we can organize this communication, a way to learn how to engage with the child, at first following the rules and regulations. It will help us numerous books, which describes playing with children of different ages, and tips “experienced”.
Everyone can find something that naturally for him, that he is interested in, what is of interest in the child. And then the game will certainly be useful. They need not be complicated, there is no need to invent anything in particular. The child laughs, we laugh, the child is happy, we are happy. Some games can be loved and will serve the development of the baby and our relationship with him.
Games have a magical effect – they impact not only on children but also their parents. Drawn into the game, we are beginning to themselves to invent something new, to enjoy, interact and ultimately be able to run with a child “just so”. And the best “toy” for a kid – an adult, it is to him a child a genuine interest.
And what do you mean by creating the necessary space for the child?
We often forget how new and incomprehensible to the world baby, the first attempts to ignore his knowledge. Of course, curiosity and cognitive activity can not be taught, but it is important not to discourage. That we need to organize and gradually expand the space in which an infant, trusting their surroundings, can express themselves freely and to use their capabilities.
And here the important balance between stability and novelty. For a child to satisfy his curiosity, the space around it should be stable – only against the background of the environment persistence he will notice something new and become interested in it. But the balance of stability, novelty and uncertainty should be optimal. It’s like any training load – to achieve the effect, it should not be too low, but not excessive. In a world where everything is monotonous and predictable – pale walls, white ceiling, the nurse in a mask in an orphanage – no uncertainty. And be curious in this world to nothing. But even there, where a picture is quickly replaced by another, as in a slide show, where “flash cities and countries, parallels and meridians”, also did not look to be hooked. If today a child sees one thing, tomorrow another, today, talking to him in the same language, tomorrow, on the other – with no laws – there is no possibility that some predict, anticipate, and, therefore, surprised that something goes wrong . And then he could not help fenced off, protected from this abundance of impressions and no longer anything to take. In this and in another case, the effect of one – natural, natural curiosity baby dies.
So we once again need to show sensitivity and attention in the search for a middle ground: on the one hand, to ensure your baby a variety of experiences, and on the other – not to overload his perception more and more new toys, objects, changing rooms, persons, people around, etc. .d.
Once we create a safe space for the child, it means that this space there is the border?
Absolutely. The baby does not yet know what can and what can not, and in their desire to actively explore the world may fall, hurt, scared, something dirty, split or break. Courage, activity, curiosity should be encouraged, but only if we know that the baby is safe, and he is confident that his senior guard.
At the same time, in good faith, we often exaggerate the severity of certain objects or situations for the child, and thereby block the incipient his research interest. Of course, it is very useful when an awkward and clumsy baby is swaddled in bed or sitting in an arena, from which he did not get out. At this time, we can go about their business and not worry about what he will wander off somewhere not there or elsewhere fall. But the connection of movement and intelligence is caused physiologically. Therefore, by limiting the activity of the child – tight swaddling him or constantly forcing “sit still” and “be quiet” – we slow down the development. Our task, on the contrary, to do everything that the child had the opportunity to move, move. Do not assume that the dangers lying in wait for our baby everywhere. Therefore restrictions that establish the boundaries of what is permitted, must be reasonable. Here, as in everything, we must find a balance.
So, you can let your child do whatever he wants?
Of course not. We have to control the activity of the child, but the work is very flexible, so as not to discourage his desire to explore the world. And for this you need all the time to be alert, gently let go or have time to time “podstelit straw” – that is, to be creative, depending on the circumstances. If a child tries to crush or tear the paper hit him in the eye, which, as it turned out, my father brought out of the office, it is necessary to replace them with the calm that is not a pity to break. Toddler pulling paint on the walls? You can select it on the wallpaper special place for drawing and thereby support its creative impulse and desire for self-expression.
Do not go to extremes: either to keep a tight rein on the baby, or be touched and indulge in any of his actions and deeds. For example, the child begins to throw everything, grabbing a cat by the tail, and the parents are ecstatic. Ban can not be many, but they should be – especially on key points. Already in the infancy start developing basic concepts – what is good and what is bad, what is important and what is not, what is and what is not. Parents of his authority set a solid framework that kid has to recognize and accept.
These boundaries should be clear, unambiguous, understandable, but in any case not hard, frightening. We firmly say “no”, but say it quietly. At the time of failure mom should keep in contact with your child, look him straight in the eye – you can even hugged the baby. Rules should be immutable. So, in a car baby gets used to sit strapped into a special chair at the table, he must eat, not to play with food. Seeing as our child pulls a cat’s tail, we immediately say firmly, “so you can not” and explain why.
Of course, the constant search for a middle ground – troublesome, such an approach will require us to focus and effort. However, to maintain and to allow, restrict or prohibit – an important parental function. So we will have a good “loaf”, if we want them to then “moved” in the child.
It turns out that the origins of the idea of early development – not the desire to benefit to the child, but rather parental ambitions and desire to excel?
More often. It seems to us, the sooner children develop, the better parents we are, we are trying to outdo the other, the spirit of competition is literally in the air. The expression “normal child” for active, ambitious moms and dads sounds almost verdict. So, one of my friends, who also captured the idea of “read before going” once asked me to recommend an effective method for learning to read his year-old daughter: “They say the time has come …” I asked: “Why? What it will be read today? And she will understand from your reading, “he said in confusion:” Yes, indeed, I had not thought about that … “.
Intellectual development – this is not a short sprint but rather a marathon, long and hard, requires patience and the ability to calculate the forces. It begins in the first year of the baby’s life, but the results largely depend on the will the “coach” to properly distribute the strength of his “ward”, that it is not exhausted prematurely. And it may very well happen if we are exploiting the amazing opportunities of young children, try to “accelerate the process” and prematurely impose them something that is absolutely not necessary.
Of course, you can and three baby quite quickly and easily learn the Japanese language, or play chess. But again, why? And if he loses much more of this training, what will become? In very young children are no requirements in the “adult” knowledge and skills, which they begin to stuff long before they had formed a request on this knowledge. First must emerge to mature and desires, and then there will be the motivation, curiosity and a willingness to overcome the difficulties to “the difficult path of knowledge.”
Of course, it is necessary to begin as soon as possible to deal with the child’s development. But at the same time use other means and other tasks: create an emotional connection, secure attachment, the conditions for an active and at the same time secure the study of the world. And only then, when the baby is physiologically and psychologically ready for it, teach him something purposeful.
First we need to build a strong and solid foundation, and only then build on it a beautiful building – and then it will stand any weather. If we do not hurry time, hoping for quick success and patience and wisdom to shape the child’s intelligence is natural, given the patterns of development, there is a chance that at school age, he did not lose interest in knowledge, and his intellectual capacity will grow together with him.