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Infant and Child development - long - Page 5

post #81 of 91
Thread Starter 
OK, got into the old fashioned play skills and I love it!

Here are a few bits:
Quote:
"It's interesting to me that when we talk about play today, the first thing that comes to mind are toys," says Chudacoff. "Whereas when I would think of play in the 19th century, I would think of activity rather than an object."
Quote:
It turns out that all that time spent playing make-believe actually helped children develop a critical cognitive skill called executive function. Executive function has a number of different elements, but a central one is the ability to self-regulate. Kids with good self-regulation are able to control their emotions and behavior, resist impulses, and exert self-control and discipline.
Quote:
"Today's 5-year-olds were acting at the level of 3-year-olds 60 years ago, and today's 7-year-olds were barely approaching the level of a 5-year-old 60 years ago," Bodrova explains. "So the results were very sad."
Quote:
Despite the evidence of the benefits of imaginative play, however, even in the context of preschool young children's play is in decline. According to Yale psychological researcher Dorothy Singer, teachers and school administrators just don't see the value.
Quote:
It seems that in the rush to give children every advantage — to protect them, to stimulate them, to enrich them — our culture has unwittingly compromised one of the activities that helped children most. All that wasted time was not such a waste after all.
I basically could have cut and copied the whole article. It is fascinating reading for me... but perhaps I need to think more critically about it? It just kinda makes sense to me.
I really recommend reading the whole article
post #82 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by ema-adama View Post

I think you are making a very important point and I would just like to clarify something. If you do not feel comfortable sharing your personal story, that is fine of course.
Do you think that too many toys and an overstimulating environment make no difference to a child, whether they are NT or not? (I have to quickly say that until not long ago I was not familiar with the concept NT - and now I know of it in connection to the Spectrum) For me this is highly theoretical, but also comes from observation around me -
a child overwhelmed by toys and in general overwhelmed by life and expectations, can become a child who is 'highly strung'. I have said this before. I think that much of the way little children spend their time (occupation) does not support their healthy development...
Okay sorry I'm just getting back online and wanted to respond to your thoughtful response...

I've been thinking about it alot offline. And I think what maybe we're really talking about is something more like "developing concentration" or something like that. I definitely think that toys with an "instantaneous" payoff (bells, whistles whatever) or that "do too much" for you probably do NOT foster development of concentration. I can definitely see where the ability to concentrate on a task that takes a while to pay off is something that has fallen by the wayside in many childhood experiences (and maybe in our society overall).

I think that if you have an NT (neurotypical) child who watches lots of TV, has video games, has toys that whir and flash at the touch of a button and so on you are giving that child experiences that are based on almost instant rewards. I can see how a child might choose the train with the bells on it over a simple wooden train where they have to supply their OWN noises. In some sense they are being "deprived" of the opportunity to develop patience and concentration. Now there are probably plenty of kids who have all the flashy toys etc who are ALSO encouraged to develop concentration - either through the arts, music, sports, reading, whatever. And of course kids who never had all the flashy toys probably have a HIGHLY developed sense of concentration because that's the enviornment in which they were raised and that skill has developed further. But I'm sure there are many who just don't get as much exposure to those opportunities. So when they hit a school environment, they expect to be "entertained" because they are looking for the instant payoff.

I don't hear anyone really talking about or extolling the virtues of patience much anymore (weren't schools known for being hard work back in the day and there was NO instant reward expected?). Instead, it seems like schools are trying to make themselves more "instant reward" kinds of places. And the idea that kids can't concentrate has more to do with the fact that it has never been properly cultivated in them....

Anyway, I guess I'm saying that none of this really seems like it causes ADD/ADHD to me. ADD/ADHD is something else entirely as far as I can tell. It has to do with the quality of a childs concentration but it is more of a disorder of a jumbled hierarchy of what to pay attention to first in one's environment. Whereas the NT kids we're talking about have more of just an underdeveloped ability to concentrate on ANYTHING that doesn't have an immediate payoff or attention-getting response. They may fully understand that they are supposed to do the boring math problem, but they just don't see the reward. But an ADD/ADHD kid may become distracted by the feel of their pencil or a stray mark on the ceiling or something and just kind of "forget" that the math problem is even in front of them.

(Of course it occurs to me that our society deals with ADD in an instant reward type fashion because we'd rather medicate it than help these kids develop their concentration skills to the best of their ability or to find methods to cope with their unusual way of "paying attention" to their environment. And one could very well argue that by having an environment free of the flashy toys, you have a better chance of having these kids focus on the more important parts of their environment. Of course just a picture with many colors or even a stray mark on the wall is enough to distract my child from the task at hand LOL She'd have to be in a VERY boring environment to help her focus her attention. Anyway that's an aside I guess.)

Anyway, it's an interesting question overall and one I think worth thinking about.

peace,
robyn
post #83 of 91
We also don't buy the flashy stuff, and only have a few things (that mostly live in the kitchen cabinet and the kids have forgotten them) that other people have given us. I, too, don't see the value in a garbled voice teaching my children the alphabet. I pull them out for "me" time as well...but only when I'm really desperate. I'm much more likely to pull out my hair curlers and turn them loose, or to dump the silverware drawer on the floor for exploration.

My children are allowed to play with everything. I don't take small/dangerous things out of the baby's hands. I just stay RIGHT there. (okay, they don't play with containers of bleach, or...). But, ds (who is 1) has played with a knife. I stay with them and explain the different parts. If he finds something tiny on the floor, I don't take it away. I explore it with him until he's done with it. (or if he insists on carrying it around, I just watch him until he puts it down.) Our kids have free reign of my husband's woodworking shop...dd rides her tricycle around his work bench, and ds carries around dowel rods, tape measures, screwdrivers, etc. They push the buttons on the alarm clock, the flush the potty over and over, they dump the clothes out of the laundry basket (and then I take them for a ride). If one of them takes a fancy to "go exploring", I follow them, pointing things out along the way. Sometimes I stay back just enough to prevent them from knowing I am there...just to let them feel free and unencumbered.

That said, including brightly colored infant toys, of which we have a small collection, I try to get as much into their hands as possible. Let them fully explore anything they desire. Shiny bright rattle, daddy's watch, mama's necklace, shoe laces, anything. I make it a point to sort things on the floor in front of them...money, buttons, my ribbon box, electronic stuff (phone cords, batteries, extension cords, computer parts, etc.). They can learn so fast...I think this is the time to show them all I possibly can...and not limit them to "things for children". My children expect to be with me, and they expect to be free to do what I am doing and to learn about it in their own way at their own pace. I hand them all sorts of stuff, but if they put it down without even looking at it...fine. Maybe I'll give them the same thing next week.

I agree with the idea that children need routine and repitition, but I believe that they largely supply that for themselves. Sure, mealtimes, bedtimes, and a rough outline of our day follows the same pattern, and they DO love to know what comes next. But I think the important part is knowing your child, and in what sort of environment they do best. DD was very flexible, and as long as I gave her a bit of warning was very happy to do whatever, whenever. DS needs it pretty much the same or we deal with lots of meltdowns. That doesn't mean the same exact thing everyday, but it does mean he needs to be in bed by 8p.

DH and I have discussed that until about age 5 or 6, we are defining what our children view as "normal." Children playing in the other room out of touch with adults with flashy fake things is NOT normal. (Please understand, that I, too, think moderation is key. These parenting styles are not mutally exclusive). I'm not raising my children to be children...I'm raising them to be adults. So, I have no desire to create a preschool subculture. They are just part of my life, and when they are grown, will continue to live their own lives. Sure, I add lots of interesting bits to their day...they have a lot to see and encounter, having never had these opportunities before...but I do reject greatly the idea of socializing and herding children.

I have no studies to back up where I stand, but feel that I have a ton of antedoctal evidence to support my plan to continue as I am. As opposed to their playmates (not all...but all of those who don't parent the way we do), our children are FAR ahead developmentally...physically, emotionally, mentally, and yes, even socially. They don't neccessarily play well with other children, but they can converse beautifully with an adult. And if the other children are willing to move out of their "dora brain" and really play, my kids can do that, too. And we've not forced them one bit. We sing, we play, we explore, and they are thriving. I come from a large family, and one that follows these same philosophies, and the bit I was reading from a pp about how 5 year olds in our culture barely measure up to 3yo 60 years ago I think is probably very accurate. In our family, 3 is the big year. Across the board, with rare exception and with no pushing on the part of the grown-ups, kids in our family figure out how to read, ride a bike, tie their shoes, do simple math (maybe even some multiplication and division), make a swing go, etc at 3 years old. Things that children typically learn in kindergarten. Note I said "figure out", not "are taught". We make casual observations that let the children put it together on their own. Like, see, I read "too", because when two o's are side by side they say "ooooo". Look at that tree over there...I think maple trees are so pretty. See how this one has 5 parts on it's leaves? We're just talking, thinking, and noticing out loud. Our children do the same thing. People are always floored what dd knows, but really, I spent very little time "teaching", and a lot of time "exposing" and "including" and answering HER questions about things she's seen. Just last night she said (after several days of going down the street to watch some constuction), "Mama, when you swim your hand does the same thing a backhoe does when it scoops. Except a backhoe is in the middle. See, I can be a backhoe!" And she proceeded to demonstrate. That was with no prompting from me, except our daily trip to watch the backhoes this week and last.

I don't value, by the way, early learning for the sake of early learning. And I don't think that it makes better, smarter adults, per se. BUT...I do think that the opportunity to learn so easily, naturally, and quickly gives children a self-confidence that struggling to learn through artifical means can never do. My kids EXPECT that they CAN figure things out. They know they just have to look at it a little longer, twist this piece, ask someone a few questions. And they are not stuck "inside the box". So, I know that when they are doing advanced math later and have to struggle through a book...they'll be confident that they CAN do it...they are smart, they are strong, etc. I've given them the chance to prove themselves to themselves.

So, what do small children NEED developmentally? They need to be shown everything real they possibly can. They need to be gently guided and exposed to things they didn't know existed, and then be free to explore them at their own pace and in their own way. They need someone to sit beside them on the swing outside and comment on every passing car (blue truck, gold car, oooo...look! a fire truck!), etc, and to share the excitement and thrill of an exploration and an adventure. They need plenty of things they can touch and explore (and even break). But flashy toys and tv and preschool programs and socialization with other children in a school setting (or even playgroup)...absolutely not.
post #84 of 91
Okay this is totally off topic but your posting reminded me of a study I read about Japanese versus American mothers....the American moms tended to point out THINGS in the environment (look a mail truck!) while Japanese moms tended to focus on the relationship between people (what do we say to the mailman?)...just thought it was interesting and your post made me think of it.
peace,
robyn
post #85 of 91
Thread Starter 
[QUOTE]
Quote:
Originally Posted by hippymomma69 View Post
Okay sorry I'm just getting back online and wanted to respond to your thoughtful response...

I've been thinking about it alot offline. And I think what maybe we're really talking about is something more like "developing concentration" or something like that. I definitely think that toys with an "instantaneous" payoff (bells, whistles whatever) or that "do too much" for you probably do NOT foster development of concentration. I can definitely see where the ability to concentrate on a task that takes a while to pay off is something that has fallen by the wayside in many childhood experiences (and maybe in our society overall).
Thanks for responding again. I really am learning so much from what you are saying.
And I had not thought of 'developing concentration', although as I think about it now, I see what you mean.
I am guessing that concentration is part of a larger 'package', including a happy, healthy, self confident, curious, secure, active etc child.... I think there is too much focus on building cognitive skills at too young of an age. I think little children need different things to older children and babies needs still different things from little children. And the way I interpreted what I read about old-fashioned play skills left me with the impression that a child/children left to 'do their thing' meet their needs in a way that structured programmes loose, because they are structured. And that our modern conveniences are not conveniences for little children.... sorry for little lecture I got a bit carried away. I guess I was just trying to say that I am sure more and more benefits of free imaginative play are going to be found, and then it will become a specialised therapy (which scares me - the idea of kids needing therapy in order to play) which parents will pay high fees for when, IMO, it is totally not justified. Well almost totally not justified. I am sure a talented therapist could build a programme specific to the child, but I am guessing that it could hardly beat children being left alone to play uninterrupted. Sorry, I really am just spouting off here, and I was wanting to agree with you

Quote:
I think that if you have an NT (neurotypical) child who watches lots of TV, has video games, has toys that whir and flash at the touch of a button and so on you are giving that child experiences that are based on almost instant rewards. I can see how a child might choose the train with the bells on it over a simple wooden train where they have to supply their OWN noises. In some sense they are being "deprived" of the opportunity to develop patience and concentration. Now there are probably plenty of kids who have all the flashy toys etc who are ALSO encouraged to develop concentration - either through the arts, music, sports, reading, whatever. And of course kids who never had all the flashy toys probably have a HIGHLY developed sense of concentration because that's the enviornment in which they were raised and that skill has developed further. But I'm sure there are many who just don't get as much exposure to those opportunities. So when they hit a school environment, they expect to be "entertained" because they are looking for the instant payoff.
I think we essentially are agreeing here


Quote:
I don't hear anyone really talking about or extolling the virtues of patience much anymore (weren't schools known for being hard work back in the day and there was NO instant reward expected?). Instead, it seems like schools are trying to make themselves more "instant reward" kinds of places. And the idea that kids can't concentrate has more to do with the fact that it has never been properly cultivated in them....
I am guessing kids (in general) are not building the skills to be patient and work hard for something... not in a disposable society where it is cheaper to buy something new than fix something older.

Quote:
Anyway, I guess I'm saying that none of this really seems like it causes ADD/ADHD to me. ADD/ADHD is something else entirely as far as I can tell. It has to do with the quality of a childs concentration but it is more of a disorder of a jumbled hierarchy of what to pay attention to first in one's environment. Whereas the NT kids we're talking about have more of just an underdeveloped ability to concentrate on ANYTHING that doesn't have an immediate payoff or attention-getting response. They may fully understand that they are supposed to do the boring math problem, but they just don't see the reward. But an ADD/ADHD kid may become distracted by the feel of their pencil or a stray mark on the ceiling or something and just kind of "forget" that the math problem is even in front of them.
Good distinction (for me)

Quote:
(Of course it occurs to me that our society deals with ADD in an instant reward type fashion because we'd rather medicate it than help these kids develop their concentration skills to the best of their ability or to find methods to cope with their unusual way of "paying attention" to their environment. And one could very well argue that by having an environment free of the flashy toys, you have a better chance of having these kids focus on the more important parts of their environment. Of course just a picture with many colors or even a stray mark on the wall is enough to distract my child from the task at hand LOL She'd have to be in a VERY boring environment to help her focus her attention. Anyway that's an aside I guess.)
Again, good point about reward and the difficulty of maintaining attention - some more thoughts on that later

Quote:
Anyway, it's an interesting question overall and one I think worth thinking about.

peace,
robyn
Definitely!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Just1More View Post
We also don't buy the flashy stuff, and only have a few things (that mostly live in the kitchen cabinet and the kids have forgotten them) that other people have given us. I, too, don't see the value in a garbled voice teaching my children the alphabet. I pull them out for "me" time as well...but only when I'm really desperate. I'm much more likely to pull out my hair curlers and turn them loose, or to dump the silverware drawer on the floor for exploration.
"me time" is a serious problem...

Quote:
DH and I have discussed that until about age 5 or 6, we are defining what our children view as "normal." Children playing in the other room out of touch with adults with flashy fake things is NOT normal. (Please understand, that I, too, think moderation is key. These parenting styles are not mutally exclusive). I'm not raising my children to be children...I'm raising them to be adults. So, I have no desire to create a preschool subculture. They are just part of my life, and when they are grown, will continue to live their own lives. Sure, I add lots of interesting bits to their day...they have a lot to see and encounter, having never had these opportunities before...but I do reject greatly the idea of socializing and herding children.
The part that I highlighted grabbed my attention, as it is true. I do see many people jumping from this idea to 'lets treat little children like adults' - which I do not think is true.

Quote:
I don't value, by the way, early learning for the sake of early learning. And I don't think that it makes better, smarter adults, per se. BUT...I do think that the opportunity to learn so easily, naturally, and quickly gives children a self-confidence that struggling to learn through artifical means can never do. My kids EXPECT that they CAN figure things out. They know they just have to look at it a little longer, twist this piece, ask someone a few questions. And they are not stuck "inside the box". So, I know that when they are doing advanced math later and have to struggle through a book...they'll be confident that they CAN do it...they are smart, they are strong, etc. I've given them the chance to prove themselves to themselves.
I liked this (bolded part). It makes sense to me.
Quote:
So, what do small children NEED developmentally? They need to be shown everything real they possibly can. They need to be gently guided and exposed to things they didn't know existed, and then be free to explore them at their own pace and in their own way. They need someone to sit beside them on the swing outside and comment on every passing car (blue truck, gold car, oooo...look! a fire truck!), etc, and to share the excitement and thrill of an exploration and an adventure. They need plenty of things they can touch and explore (and even break). But flashy toys and tv and preschool programs and socialization with other children in a school setting (or even playgroup)...absolutely not.
Agreed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hippymomma69 View Post
Okay this is totally off topic but your posting reminded me of a study I read about Japanese versus American mothers....the American moms tended to point out THINGS in the environment (look a mail truck!) while Japanese moms tended to focus on the relationship between people (what do we say to the mailman?)...just thought it was interesting and your post made me think of it.
peace,
robyn
Very funky! And rather NOT off topic. It makes sense. And I love to think about differences and similarities between cultures in relation to many things, but child rearing is a favourite topic for me now.
post #86 of 91
Thread Starter 

Oh my

So, I went ahead and ordered "What's going on in there?" by Lise Eliot and also got "Your growing child's mind" by Jane Healy. Just very briefly, the Healy book is totally brilliant and I am liking the Eliot book too.

So much of what I have been thinking and theorizing about seems to be confirmed in the Healy book from how the brain develops to how to stimulate the brain. Just wonderful. I wish this was more common knowledge.

I need to sit down and read the book thoroughly, but for now, I am loving the reptilian brain, the mammalian brain and the human brain.... oh and just about every page has something I think is beautiful.

Anyway, Fisher Price and Taf Toys etc are more often than not missing the boat I would guess. (Although MIL, who LOVES all things plastic and educational and electronic etc etc etc, did find an open ended plastic Fisher Price toy after much searching)

:::::::::
post #87 of 91

Playing with "garbage"

I am interested in this thread, and it's fun to read all the POVs as I have a 10 yo, 8 yo, 4 yo and 2 yo. Very fascinating to watch their development.

Someone mentioned "playing with boxes" at Christmas, but I want to add my list of "toys" that dd1 especially loved, but everyone did between 5 mos and 2 years:

plastic jars with lids
egg cartons, cardboard and/or plastic
plastic easter eggs
small food boxes (pasta, cereal, etc.)
small individual cups (yogurt, applesauce)
water bottles
juice bottles
a "bean box" (like a sand box, but with beans) (for older than a 1 yo)
Paper towels
foil
wax paper

There's more, but that's what I can think of right now. Babies and toddlers are so fascinating ...
post #88 of 91
:
post #89 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekka View Post
I am interested in this thread, and it's fun to read all the POVs as I have a 10 yo, 8 yo, 4 yo and 2 yo. Very fascinating to watch their development.

Someone mentioned "playing with boxes" at Christmas, but I want to add my list of "toys" that dd1 especially loved, but everyone did between 5 mos and 2 years:

plastic jars with lids
egg cartons, cardboard and/or plastic
plastic easter eggs
small food boxes (pasta, cereal, etc.)
small individual cups (yogurt, applesauce)
water bottles
juice bottles
a "bean box" (like a sand box, but with beans) (for older than a 1 yo)
Paper towels
foil
wax paper

There's more, but that's what I can think of right now. Babies and toddlers are so fascinating ...
WONDERFUL!

Getting into the Healy book a bit more, I am finding that there are things I do not totally agree with, but most of what she writes and concludes is very refreshing.

Earlier in the thread someone mentioned the 'American Question' put to Piaget on speeding cognitive development up. In Healy's book she adds that he said it's not about how fast you can grow intelligence, but how far. I like that.....

And also she addresses motivation to learn, and how this has to do with the limbic system (emotions) and even the cerebellum (so keep those young kids moving!) And how by being a responsive parent to your infant you are already building a positive learning experience... and she touches on attention, being able to channel out 'distractions' by choosing what to focus on..... Gosh, it is a lot! And it is very inspiring to take on the responsibility of creating an environment that will foster positive learning.

I think I could pretty much quote most of the book..... but I am known for getting carried away with myself when I get excited... :
post #90 of 91
I used to play with "garbage" too. One of my favorite childhood toys was a gigantic audio mixer (box with lots of knobs) that my dad brought home because somebody was throwing it away; it was my spaceship control panel, etc. So I've let my child adopt many discarded and everyday items as toys. It's good for the imagination.
post #91 of 91
Thread Starter 
I can't help myself - but I am really loving both books!

Healy writes about attention being so wrapped up with motivation and the emotions - it is so complicated and beautiful to think how the brain works. Her ideas about people with attention problems being wired differently are interesting - that the brain is responding differently, but they do not know if it is genetic or environmental. Anyone have any links on this?
But she also says that even with a genetic tendency to attention problems, the structured environment can be very helpful and assist in modifying attention problems.... and fostering self regulation

She also writes a lot about motivation..... anyway, I should stop gushing.

Lise Eliot also writes very convincingly about why a natural vaginal birth is in the mother and babies best interest. Again, wonderful reading how it all works so beautifully if give the chance.
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