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for grandparents & those who love them


Get Ready for Your Grandchild’s Spontaneous Learning Cycles

By a miracle of nature, there is a unique timetable in the grandchild’s brain that guides them to master life’s most basic skills. In other words, the child instinctively knows when he or she is ready to master each skill. We  call these spontaneous bursts of intelligence the “sensitive periods.”

Something inside your grandchild lets him know when to start babbling, eating solids, sitting, crawling, standing, and walking.  All of these activities are guided by these innate sensitive periods.  As grandparents, we can take advantage of these amazing windows of opportunity.  We will see happy, engaged children when we meet the right developmental need at the right time.

Many times, when we do not understand the child’s behavior, we might think he is being naughty or his behavior is silly or meaningless. But for the child, something internal is building and we should rejoice! Likewise, if we try to do things for him, when he is gaining a sense of mastery, he may rebel with a tantrum. Learn more

The Power of Observation

Step back and objectively watch your grandchild throughout the day and take note of the things he gravitates towards.  Is he trying to balance on every curb? Does he dump out the container of Q-tips on the floor and then pick them up one by one?

Feed the Need

When a child enters a sensitive period, he instinctively looks for tools in his environment to help develop that particular new skill.  We can help ensure that he has the tools he needs to feed his brain and to develop these essential new skills.

We can create simple activities that allow our grandchildren to practice and develop new skills.   For the curb walker, make a line of masking tape along the floor and show him how to follow it, heel to toe.  For the child with the Q-tips, place two bowls in front of him, one filled with buttons and the other empty.  Show him how to move the buttons, one by one, to the empty bowl and back again. This refines the pincer grip and prepares his little fingers for writing!

Around the age of four, your grandchildren may ask you to read signs and billboards, as well as books.   This is very exciting; as your grandchild has made the connection between written and spoken word! Feed this desire with rhyming games, identifying the sounds of letters and segmenting the sounds to create a word. Learn more about how your grandchild will build his literacy skills: Feed your grandchild’s desire to read! Read more here:  Learning to read is child’s play!

Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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