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Posts tagged ‘Child Development’

How do kids learn? Part 3

So, for the last 2 learning styles… we are going to talk about musical (woohoo!) and bodily (?). Oh if you are reading this blog for the first time, the last 2 weeks we’ve been talking about the 7 different learning styles. Check How do kids (and we) learn Part 1 and Part 2 (if you are interested).
Musical: If your child is always walking around the house humming a tune, or always needs music to study by, then he/she is likely a musical learner. This type of learner is best at noticing details, pitches, and rhythms that escape the normal listener. They are excellent at keeping tune, and are adept at turning the abstract into concrete objects. These childern learn best through rhythm, melody, and music. When they need to learn something for school encourage them to write a song about the lesson (rap maybe?), or teach them a song. Encourage their natural love of music, and try to incorporate music into as many lessons as possible.
Bodily: This type of learner is always on the move. They are also called Kinesthetic learners. They constantly walk around, they have to touch everything, and they use body language to convey their feelings. They would rather play sports or do a craft than sit down and read a book. They need active education hands-on activities. As babies, kinesthetic learners are in constant motion, their movements are well coordinated, and they are anxious to crawl and walk as quickly as possible. In a classroom, kinesthetic learners can be fidgety. They’ll often be the first to volunteer to do something —anything—active. They want to do an experiment not watch it or read about it. Keep them moving. These are the learners who can do more than one thing at a time. Interdisciplinary lessons are very successful with these types of learners.
So, to summarize, the 7 learning styles are:
  1. linguistic
  2. interpersonal
  3. intrapersonal
  4. logical
  5. spatial
  6. musical
  7. bodily
 I think I am a combination of linguistic, interpersonal and musical. How about you?

How do kids learn? Part 2

Last week, we started talking about how kids (and we) learn. We learned that there are 7 styles and last week we talked about 3 of them: Linguistic, interpersonal and intrapersonal.

This week we will talk about 2 more learning styles logical and spatial.

Logical: This child is very mathematically inclined. They enjoy solving problems, especially if they are math related. They are very logical, straight-forward types of learners and they will ask many questions on how things work and how things relate to one another. Some of their favorite toys might be building blocks, and pattern puzzles. This type of student learns best by categorizing, classifying, and working with abstract patterns or relationships. As a parent, ask them to make a chart or to show relationships between different items. They will not only come up with an answer, but they will be able to explain the process and developmental stages of the relationship!

Spatial: These are the visualizers. They spend most of the day dreaming, watching movies, and staying as far away from reality as possible. If they seem particularly “down”, asking them to draw a picture will get you much further into the nature of the problem, than asking them to tell you about it. As a parent allow them to develop their senses and their natural artistic abilities and encourage any type of creative endeavor. They are very good at working with colors and pictures, and using the “mind’s eye“. Allow them to play a couple of educational computer games, or to daydream under a tree. They could be hard at work thinking about a particular problem, but have yet to put it on paper. These types of learners are very artistic, although they often have problems expressing it. 

Does your child (or you) lean towards either one of these learning styles?

Your child and the dentist

Good oral health is very important for everyone, especially for little children. Taking care of their oral health is something that has to start even before they have teeth!

For this week’s post, I interviewed my (favorite) dentist. Ok yes, she’s also my sister! She has her private practice in Carolina, Puerto Rico. I asked her a few frequently-asked questions by parents about children’s oral hygiene. Let’s see what she had to say.

Interview with my dentist

  • At what age should we take a baby for the first time to the dentist?

We recommend that a baby first visits the dentist by the time they turn one year. By this time most babies have a few frontal upper and lower teeth. Of course there are exceptions where the teeth start coming out around their first birthday. In any case, that should be the time when they visit the dentist for an evaluation, prophylaxis (cleaning) and to apply fluoride.

  • Should we clean their gums or should we wait for when they have teeth? What do we use to clean their mouths?

You should clean their gums using a gauze pad and some water. That way you remove sugar residue from the milk and juice. We don’t want sugar to be accumulated in their mouths when their teeth start to grow.

  • At what age should we expect that the first baby teeth start growing? What about their permanent teeth?

Deciduous teeth or baby teeth start growing around 6 to 10 months. Of course there are exceptions and some babies have teeth around 3-4 months old. Permanent teeth start growing around 6 years; molars are the first ones to grow.

  • What could be an emergency that requires going to the dentist?

The most common dental emergency is when the child falls and they hurt their face and mouth. Usually, this affects their upper front teeth and upper lip. It is important to take the child to the dentist immediately to examine their lips, gums and teeth and to make sure if the tooth (or teeth) is still “alive”. In some cases the impact is so strong that the nerve “dies”. This requires special treatment.

  • What advise do you give to the parents of children who don’t want to brush their teeth?

I would suggest that they find a way to make the children enjoy brushing their teeth and to create a routine. That way they grow up with a healthy mouth. It is sad to see so many young patients that have lost some teeth and this makes chewing more difficult. It is also negative for their self-esteem because many of them won’t even smile because they are embarrassed! Fortunately, we now have ways to make brushing the teeth more fun for young children. There are flavored toothpastes, toothbrushes with favorite movie characters or cartoons and of course the electrical toothbrushes that catch their attention. It is very important that parents and older siblings (if they have them) be an example for these children. They should brush their teeth twice a day, that way the young child will see that this is the normal routine that everyone does. Parents should teach the children, supervise them and praise them for a job well done. Creating a healthy hygiene routine is one of the best things you can teach your child, because this leads to having a healthier life in general and to smile with pride.

You read it here! It is very important to maintain a healthy mouth! Keep brushing those teeth!

Do you have any questions for Dr. Jeanette Cabrera? Ask here and she’ll answer them for you!

You can contact Dr. Jeanette Cabrera by email: or “like” her Facebook fanpage for more tips on oral hygiene

photo: iStock

How can I help my child in his/her development? Part 2

Last time (2 weeks ago) I explained briefly 4 main areas of child development. Today I want to share some tips of games/activities parents can do to help their children in each area! I am going to give suggestions that are helpful for children in the first 5 years of age.

Motor Development (gross and fine). Motor development is all about movement. Have fun moving!

  • Make your home safe- Children need to be able to be in a safe environment for them to explore movement with their bodies. Let them crawl, climb, walk and jump as much as possible.
  • Play with balls- Playing with balls helps them with hand-eye coordination skills.             
  • Play with building and stacking toys such as blocks, pegs, and beads – Those toys can really help their fine motor skills.
  • Use writing materials- Another great activity that helps strengthen fine motor skills.

Cognitive Development. This area is all about their ability to think.

  • Play peek a boo/hide and seek- With this game they learn about object permanence (objects exist even when we can’t see them).
  • Let them do things by themselves (so they can figure out how to do it) -This helps with problem-solving skills.
  • Place things out of their immediate reach – They will find a way to reach it. Again problem-solving skills.
  • Let them try things first then help them – I know it’s hard, because you want to help them all the time. But it’s really important that they start to figure out the world by themselves!

Socio-emotional Development. This is where they build their self-confidence and self-esteem.

  • Have play dates – This gives them the opportunity to make friends.
  • Pretend play with a doll or a dog  – This will help them learn about caring for others.
  • Pretend play (eating out) – Helps learning about manners.
  • Play with children different ages- This helps them learn how to relate with different people.
  • Have a feelings cup/box – Write down or have a picture of different feelings, once in a while discuss them. Talk about a situation when you might feel this feeling and you could even role-play that situation. This will help them to cope appropriately when a situation comes up and the child is not sure how to express his/her feelings.

Language Development. Love this area! Children develop language mostly by imitating you. Make sure you are modeling appropriate language skills and vocabulary. Here are some games you can play:

  • Put some objects in a container and name them as you take them out.
  • Move your body in different ways and name the movement.
  • Pretend play (any familiar situation) – Talk about what happens and the objects you use (e.g. eating dinner)
  • Read books – Helps with vocabulary.

There are many more activities you can do to help your child in each area. This is just an example of what you can start doing today!

What area do you think you encourage your child more/less?

photo: Kindermusik

Music benefits…

Music can have so many benefits in our lives! It helps with cognitive, physical, language, socio-emotional, reading, writing, and math skills…!! So, in this post we’ll see how music has benefits in academic areas such as literacy and math.

Literacy is defined as how well we read and write. Once we learn how to read, we read all the time: we read menus, books, flyers, street signs, etc. We write things all the time as well. From the more sophisticated report at work to leaving a note to someone in your family! In order to acquire these skills and use them effectively, one has to manipulate sounds and parts of sounds which is called phonological awareness and understand that print has different functions, such as give choices (menus), tell a story (book), or make an announcement, which is called print awareness, as well as have good oral language skills.

Children’s songs often divide words in syllables, use rhyming words, and repeat words, phrases, syllables and sounds. All of this helps with literacy skills. In addition, we sing them ALL the time (Do you still have a favorite?)

Music also benefits math skills. Math skills include not only numbers, but shapes, spatial relationships and patterns.

When you listen to music or practice music you are counting, or following a beat, or a rhythm… those are patterns! How about when you play music and listen to notes that are higher or lower? You are practicing geometry skills!

If you want your child to do better in math, reading and writing, pick up those instruments, sing your favorite song and count 1-2-3!!

What is you favorite childhood song?

What is the vestibular system?

The vestibular system tells our bodies and heads where we are in relation to the surface of the earth. Are we upside down, sideways, on a roller coaster, or hanging from the side of a cliff?

The vestibular system helps us feel gravity so we can plan movements to control balance and bilateral coordination. It also plays a role in processing auditory language, visual-spatial relationships, emotions, adjusting heart rate and blood pressure, muscle tone, limb position, immune responses, arousal and balance (that’s a busy system!!).

So, how can we strengthen our children’s vestibular system?

For babies, rocking is best. Hold baby in your arms and rock side by side or front to back.

With older children make sure they use their bodies in different ways like swinging, rocking, jumping, spinning (how much fun is that!!), balance games, play obstacle course (Spring activity!), and even hanging upside down!!

Once a week I try a balance game to stimulate my vestibular system (hope is working!)

How many ways did you stimulate your vestibular system today?