About the Book:
From the moment of birth a child is learning and developing, absorbing information from a stimulation-rich world. Everything a baby sees, hears, tastes or touches can have some effect on that baby's future. It is a parent's role to provide and guide this stimulation, through play and other activities.
That is the central theme of the first and a second, updated edition of the book Smart Baby, Clever Child by Valentine Dmitriev, Ph.D., a pioneer in child development and special education, author and lecturer.
This first edition of Smart Baby, Clever Child was published in 2003, Adams Media Corporation, Avon, MA. In updating the second edition, released 2012.(ISBN, 13-978-1470030292, 294 pages, $14.95)
Dmitriev considers the explosion of new media and technology, and how something as seemingly simple as an iPad or smartphone app can be either a powerful tool to create exciting new learning possibilities, or an "electronic babysitter" that can impede or even regress a child's development.
The author acquired the concepts she details in the book during more than three decades of working with and studying infants and preschool children. Smart Baby, Clever Child is loaded with carefully thought-out and well-documented approaches, every one rooted in the knowledge and understanding of early childhood needs and behaviors.
“An iPad can, for example, make a picture book come alive, and this can be a useful learning tool,” says Dmitriev. “We have to remember, however, that babies are developing more than just their minds. From early infancy there must be opportunities for independent fine and gross motor physical activities as well as the acquisition of rudimentary social and pre-language skills. At seven months, for example, your child is learning to handle objects and to sit up without toppling over. Perhaps learning to deal with a touch-screen interface can wait a bit.”
About the Author:
Born in Shanghai, China in 1918, Dmitriev migrated with her Russian refugee family to Vancouver, Canada, and as an adult settled in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Dmitriev was a pioneer in infant learning and early intervention for children with special needs and received national and global recognition for her Model Preschool Program for young children with Down syndrome and other disabilities.
Over a period of 15 years she traveled widely giving lectures and workshops in 40 cities in America and 11 foreign countries including Australia, England, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Russia and Spain.
Valentine Dmitriev has written numerous professional articles, seven books on parenting, education and child development, and four romance novels, Lori, Runaway Wife, Wedding Belle, Five Magic Words and Stolen Bride.
Graduating from high school at fifteen, Dmitriev earned a B.A. from the University of Washington at nineteen, and subsequently a Master’s and Ph.D. in Early Childhood Special Education. (http://www.valentinedmitriev.
A Selection from Smart Baby, Clever Child:
With the birth of your first child, you become more than a couple, you become parents. Parents are a child's first teachers and are the most important people in her life. Parenthood is also a privilege, a challenge, and an obligation. When you become parents you assume complete responsibility for another human being. Everything you do from now on will have a profound effect on your child's mental, physical, and emotional development.
It should be remembered that a baby's development begins long before birth. With the start of life, a baby is locked into a steady,predictable pattern of progressive growth. This growth occurs in four main skill areas: physical, mental, social, and language attainment. All of these abilities are interdependent and equally important. A deficit in one area can result in poor progress in a baby's overall achievements .
Bonding is the mutual attachment between parents and child that occurs as a result of physical contact. Nursing may well be the prime source of maternal bonding, although bottle-feeding, if the baby is held closely and lovingly, is also a cooperative relationship that strengthens this reciprocal connection.
Handling, other than during feeding, is another vital step in the bonding process. There are many opportunities for dad to develop this same close attachment between himself and his child. Both mom and dad can share in the holding, rocking, and stroking that not only strengthens the parent-child interaction but also stimulates parts of the infant's developing nervous system.
We know now from clinical studies that babies who are only a few days old are already extremely aware of their new environment. For example, in a 1961 study conducted by M. Wetheimer, only a few minutes after birth, a baby reacted to the sound of a clicker by turning her head and eyes in the direction of the sound. In another experiment conducted in 1975 by O. Melzoff and M. K. Moore, a baby less than a week old imitated his mother's actions. When she put out her tongue, her baby did the same; when she fluttered her eyelashes, her little son also blinked his eyes.
Babies are puzzled by their environment, and in their own instinctive and primitive way, they seek to find answers. At this stage, babies learn by trial and error, and sometimes by accident. For example, moving about in his crib, a baby may turn and look to the right where he'll find nothing to hold his attention other than nursery room furniture; in this instance, baby learns that turning to the right is not rewarding and not worth pursuing.
It is important for you to remember that babies learn from and by the consequences of their actions. If the consequence of a behavior is positive, rewarding, and pleasing, that behavior will be repeated. For example, once a baby discovers that shaking a rattle results in pleasing noises, he will shake it deliberately. Rattle shaking will become what is known as part of a baby's "behavioral repertoire."In other words, it's a skill that he has learned and will continue to use.
Babies are full of curiosity. They study unfamiliar situations and learn by trial and error, making discoveries along the way. Step by step, but with increasing success, they gain control over their environment. They can make things happen and that is a great delight to them and should be to their parents as well. As your baby gains more control over his environment, it opens the door to many possibilities. The puzzle games below should be interesting and fun for you and your baby to try.
You can purchase Smart Baby, Clever Child at Amazon.com
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Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post.