The early years are a critical time for the development of the brain, indeed it is said that the weight of a baby’s brain doubles in the first year!
It is important to trust your instincts. As Dad or Mom, you are in a unique position to observe your own child’s behavior. The preschool activities given in this article give you a helping hand in determining what progress you can expect from your child at each stage of development.
Remember that all babies develop at a different rate; an average baby will be ahead on some tests and behind on others. If, however, your baby is substantially behind on these preschool activities, you should seek professional help. An early diagnosis of any problems in this area offers the best chance of maximizing your child’s potential in the long term.
Preschool Activities and Tests
Tests at 12 weeksDangle a bright object in front of your baby. He should reach out for it.
Make simple gestures like sticking out your tongue or clapping your hand. Your baby should make an (imperfect) attempt to mimic you.
Tests at 32 weeksShow your baby how you hide a toy under a cloth. Your baby should be able to “find” it by uncovering it.
Have a conversation with your baby. He should be able to produce strings of similar sounds (mamamama or dadadada for instance). This is known as monosyllabic babbling.
Tests at 36 weeksShow your baby how to place bright cubes or other objects into a container. He should be able to mimic you.
Call your baby by name. You should be able to see a reaction of recognition.
Tests at 15 monthsShow your baby how to make a tower of three cubes. He should be able to mimic you.
Your baby should have a vocabulary of a few words by this stage.
Tests at 3 yearsShow your child a picture of a person with something missing – like an eye. He should be able to tell you what is wrong with the picture.
Using large cards with clear shapes drawn on them, your baby should be able to match two triangles, two squares, two circles and so on.
Your child should be able to make an attempt at completing very simple (3-4 piece) jigsaws.
We all like to look for signs of precocious development – or genius! – in our child, and there is certainly much that you can do to help your baby or toddler progress and tap into his innate learning abilities.