Sensory processing is how human beings learn.
Worried about your child's sensory development?
Go ahead and learn about sensory processing disorder to see if your child has any of the symptoms, There's a good resource from the CDC to help you. at the end of this article.
Besides noticing red flags, what else can new parents do ? What are the best ways to enhance your baby's brain?
You can note that sensory processing is the way kids learn and that the best way to provide that for your kids is by providing them the chance to play, whenever you can.
We now know that babies are programmed to learn through experience, exploration, touch, trial and error, and imitation. According to Sam Wang Ph.D., Princeton University, we also know that "a child's brain naturally knows how to get what it needs from the world."
Play is the way the brain intuitively learns to make the most connections, even more than, say, sitting down and copying letters or doing worksheets.
This is because play is a multi-sensory experience and our brains need it in order to regulate, process, and learn.
Here's your takeaway!
Make sure your child experiences playgrounds, supervised bathtime, sandbox time, dramatic play, any type of safe play, etc. Also, make sure that if they attend childcare or preschool that the program has a strong belief in play as learning.
And read to them while they sit on your lap or cuddle in some sensory way.
Always have fun. In this way, parents get to go back and experience things they loved or things they missed from their own childhood. Just don't try things with them too early, that never works out well, even when we picture it in our minds as working.
If they don't want to try new things, try taking baby steps and having confidence that they will progress toward accepting them eventually.
We're all drawn to multi-sensory activities because we learn from them. That's why when a child is engaged in a multi-sensory learning activity, it can be very hard to get them to stop respectfully.
I have a few suggestions for the exact words to say in my free slideshow How To Get Your Kids To Listen Without Yelling or time-Outs, and you can pick up your copy immediately here!
Here's a link to the CDC's Developmental Milestone site. I personally find this site very helpful.
Nanci J Bradley is an early childhood and family educator, author, teacher, SELF-care facilitator, family aerobics instructor, and an all-around fun-loving person. She believes in the power of sleep, healthy eating, lifelong learning, and most of all, PLAY! She studied early childhood ed at Triton College and received her BS in education in 1986 from NIU. She received her MA in human development from Pacific Oaks College in 2011. She lives and teaches in Madison WI.