Discover the secret of childhood from 0-3 year old:

1-2 years old

Video: “Figure It Out Yourself”

Friday, January 25th, 2013 9:59 am | By Stephanie Woo

My favorite words to say to my children are, “Figure it out yourself.” I’ve been saying it to them since they were six-months old. I love hearing them repeat it to themselves as they work on that 1-inch lock-and-key, buttoning small buttons or opening a complicated latch on a box. They would spend lots of time with those things, concentrating very hard, trying to figure it out. If they come back to me and use words like, “Help me” (which I also taught them at a very early age), then I’ll help.

“Every useless help is a hindrance.”
— Maria Montessori

Here’s a video of Mackenzie at 22 months:

Toddlers and Modern Art

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 10:08 am | By Stephanie Woo
Matisse's Dancers

The Dancers by Henri Matisse

For Christmas, I bought B and M a set of art books, which I saw when we went to the Baltimore Art Museum last month. We started reading the Matisse book at bedtime yesterday. In case you’re wondering how 24-month-olds react to Matisse, here’s what happened.

As we’re flipping through the book and talking about each of the pictures, we came upon The Dancers. Mackenzie comments first. “Naked,” she said. B starts pointing out and naming body parts: “foot,” “belly-button,” “butt.”

And then M gets up and starts wiggling her little behind. B follows. Next thing I know, they are holding hands, jumping up and down and dancing on the bed for the next 5 minutes! 

What I love about this scene is just how natural and LOGICAL their responses were. If we allowed ourselves to follow our deepest instincts, wouldn’t we all be holding hands and dancing in front of this painting at the museum?

Here’s the lovely set of art books we’ve been reading:

What to Say When Your Child Gets It Wrong

Friday, January 11th, 2013 11:18 am | By Stephanie Woo

"This is a...?"

We went to the supermarket yesterday to do some shopping. As we were going through the fresh produce section, I picked up a good-looking cantaloupe and asked, “This is a…?” B (24 months) flashed a huge smile and the word “Watermelon!” burst out of her.

Here are couple ways I could have reacted:

  1. “Watermelons are green on the outside, this isn’t. What is this?” (Using an adult’s logic with a child to get her to the correct answer)
  2. “No, it’s a cantaloupe. Say cantaloupe. No, not ‘antlop.’ Can-TA-loupe.” (trying to get her to remember the word by making her say it over and over, till she says it perfectly)
  3. “Wrong, honey. It’s a cantaloupe.” (Flat-out telling her she’s wrong)

Instead, this is what I said:

“Yes, this DOES look like a watermelon. They’re both big and round. This is a ‘cantaloupe.’” (See it from her point of view and then acknowledge what she said – I mean, watermelon and cantaloupe are extremely similar, at least she didn’t say it was a ‘flower,’ right? And then just give her the correct word without using negative language.)

When you create a loving, accepting relationship with your child around language and speaking, she will want to communicate with you (selective mutism is when children don’t).  Listen to her attentively. Don’t insist on perfection. You don’t need over-the-top praises or enthusiasm every time she opens her mouth. All you need is to acknowledge what she says. It’s simple – take the time to repeat exactly what she said. This lets her know you’ve been listening and she was understood.