Try the following practices with infants and toddlers. Find out how home visitors can put these practices to work with families.
Infants and Toddlers1
- Play simple games such as peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek with partially hidden favorite toys.
- For older toddlers:
- Try hiding a toy in predictable places around the room and inviting the child to find it
- Play the Memory Game, in which children try to match pictures placed face-down, starting with a small number of sets
- For older toddlers:
- Talk about events that happened earlier in the day, the day before, or even "a long time ago," even with very young infants. Use photos of children, their families, and familiar objects and events to talk about children's past experiences.
- Create and maintain a daily schedule for older infants and toddlers. Implement familiar care rituals from home (e.g., singing a lullaby before naptime). The same things do not need to happen at the same time every day. But, if they happen in the same order, children will soon remember what came before and what happens next. A very simple picture schedule helps as a visual reminder of the daily routines.
- As children’s language abilities increase, encourage them to talk about what has already happened or what is about to happen (e.g., wash hands after eating).
- Read favorite books, sing favorite songs and chants, and do favorite fingerplays again and again.
Home visitors can support parents in identifying, adapting, and trying the practices listed above during home visits and group socializations. Here are more ideas:
- Encourage parents to talk to their child about things that happened in the past (e.g., a trip to the park or a visit to the library). Comment when parents use this kind of talk with their child. Model this talk, as needed.
- Support parents in using family photos to talk about people who are not present and places visited in the past. Meaningful objects might also be used (e.g., shells collected at a beach, a book given as a gift from a family member or friend).
- Talk with families about creating rituals around routines such as eating, diapering/toileting, and sleep.
- For example, when diapering includes some of the same rituals each time (e.g., a quick game of peek-a-boo behind a clean diaper), it can help a child remember what will happen next.2
1Early Head Start National Resource Center (EHS NRC), News You Can Use: Approaches Toward Learning—Foundations of School Readiness Part 3 (Washington, DC: HHS, ACF, OHS, 2012), https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/school-readiness/article/news-you-can-use-approaches-toward-learning-part-3-foundations-school.
Last Updated: December 3, 2019