What’s the best way to stimulate my two-year-old daughter so she learns as much as possible during her early life?
Child psychologist Dr Elizabeth Kilbey, best known for appearing on Channel 4’s The Secret Life of 4, 5 and 6-year-olds, is supporting the UK Department for Education’s Hungry Little Minds campaign (hungrylittleminds.campaign.gov.uk), encouraging parents to support early learning.
She says: “Thinking about children who are two, they’re very busy and active. Their language is really beginning to develop and there are so many easy, simple things parents can do to help their child navigate this transition.
“At this age, children often like to learn through doing. Therefore, I would advise getting your daughter involved in as much creativity and play-based activity as possible. Remember to keep it short, as two-year-olds don’t have a huge attention span. Keep your daughter engaged by working with her in short, exciting bursts and get her to think up her own ideas and games.
“Use bath time or bed time as an opportunity to make a fun, short story with some of her toys or even some made-up characters. Get her involved in deciding ‘what will happen next’ – this is brilliant for developing imagination and communication skills. In general, creative and imaginary games are brilliant for developing minds. You can use anything – empty boxes, pots and pans, cushions, anything you have around the house – to make into something make-believe like a pirate ship or desert island.
Make a commitment and join the challenge to CHAT more, PLAY together and READ aloud. https://t.co/vttqD8Wija#Wellbeing #ChatPlayRead #HungryLittleMinds #HLE #BAME #SEND #Communities #CPR #Parenting #EarlyYears pic.twitter.com/iPpdflEHFq— The Institute of Wellbeing (@iWellBeing) March 12, 2020
“You can also stimulate your daughter by talking about the actions you’re doing throughout the day and why you’re doing them. For example, when you’re washing the dishes, you could say, ‘The plates are dirty, let’s wash them to make them clean’. When you’re out and about, build on what your daughter says to encourage her learning and understanding of words. For example, if she says, ‘Look, a dog!’, you might say, ‘Yes, over there is a really big dog’ or ‘a brown dog’ or ‘a furry dog’.
“Think about all the different ways you can describe what your daughter is seeing, because that’s really going to help with her language skills.
“More than anything, time spent playing with your daughter is time that’s never wasted. Playing together builds language skills and vital social interaction skills. It also helps build the emotional bond between you and your child. It could be peekaboo, pat-a-cake, I spy or role play games, it all counts.”