Let's get ready to rumble!
Dads discover that the rules of the parenting game change completely after their baby moves into the wonderful and totally physical toddler world of discovery and learning. How can you be a hands-on dad and play a vital role in your one-to-three-year-old's development? With the fun exercises and activities for dads and kids in Rookie Dad Tackles the Toddler!
- Working out in the Brain Gym, kids grasp colors, sizes, and shapes
- Kid Talk pumps up language and listening skills
- Cool down tantrums and meltdowns by stepping Out of Bounds
- Learn the ABCs of eating like a champion with Peak Performance
Even the busiest father can make bedtime or getting dressed child's play with these simple, interactive games. Go for the gold with your toddlers -- and enjoy the prize of having happier, healthier, more capable children who strive for big things -- thanks to you, their hero.
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May 01, 2005
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Excerpt from Rookie Dad Tackles the Toddler by Susan Fox
Brain Gym: Colors, Sizes, and Shapes
It's a well-known fact that intelligent dads usually have intelligent kids, which means that the next Einstein could be sitting in your living room watching Teletubbies. But when it comes to "smarts," genes aren't everything. Nurture is just as important as nature, and you can give even the brightest toddler a boost in the learning department by providing brain exercise in the form of new experiences.
Right now, your child's brain is literally under construction. Over the next two years, trillions of connections will form between her brain cells, and those connections will help determine everything, from how well she'll speak a foreign language to how good she'll be at trigonometry, history, or quantum physics. Every interesting new experience you offer her -- petting a goat, smelling a flower, reading a new book -- will build new connections, and those connections translate into increased brainpower.
Show her how bathtub toys float and how rocks dropped into a puddle sink. Buy her a set of toy tools, and show her how they work. Have her put her hands on her chest, to feel her own heartbeat and breathing, and then let her do the same to you. Let her watch and help (or at least think she's helping!) as you fold the laundry, vacuum the car, cook a meal, hammer a nail, or play a musical instrument. Take bus rides together to parks, stores, and restaurants. These real-life lessons will stick with your child much longer than anything she'd learn from a worksheet.
A Toddler "Lesson Plan"
Though most parents want to start with academic skills, such as counting and reading, you're better off teaching these skills at the preschool or elementary school stage, when your child is ready to master them. Instead work on basic thinking skills, including:
? Problem solving. Stacking toys, big keys and locks, nesting toys, shape sorters, simple puzzles, oversized nuts and bolts, and blocks will stimulate your toddler's gray matter. Have him sort toys, nuts, books, and balls by size. And give him some everyday challenges. For instance, say, "Your toys won't fit in your toy box. What should we do?" Ask him, "Where does the water in the hose come from?" and turn the water on and off at the spigot so that he begins to learn cause and effect.
? Discrimination. Work on the concepts of same and different. For instance, show her three spoons and one cup, and say, "What's different?" "What's the same?"
? Memory. Let your toddler watch while you hide plastic animals, spoons, or small toys under a cloth, and then ask, "Where did Daddy put it?" Also, show her photos of recent events -- a holiday, family gathering, or birthday party -- and ask her about the people in the photos.
? Imaginative play. Foster your child's creativity by playing imagination games. For instance, pretend that you're both cars and race around the yard, or pretend that you're animals in the zoo. Play games where she feeds her dolly or Dad. Play barber or beauty shop, or grocery store, or stage a puppet show.
Also, buy her a play doctor's kit, a toy vacuum cleaner, a telephone, a toy lawn mower, pretend food, tools, or other toys that will let her play at being a grown-up. Pass on some of your old clothes, too; your toddler will love dressing up in your old hats, socks, and shoes, or even lugging around an old briefcase.