This past weekend my 8-month-old granddaughter Josephine and her parents came for a visit. It was a joy to watch her learn and play. She has just started to crawl, so we would lay her on a blanket on the living room floor and surround her with toys. We found that she did not move much and quickly got fussy. So my daughter Jennifer got out some different items that Josephine loved… paper and faces! Namely, laminated photographs of the family. When we placed them off the edge of the blanket, Josephine was on the move. We couldn’t keep her on the blanket.
When she finally got a hold of the photographs, Josephine would coo and “talk” to them. It was easy to encourage her by talking to her about the photos, who was in them, what they were doing, how they were related to her. We focused on what interested her with this activity, and by doing this we were able to keep her engaged and increase her physical and language development.
Staying in the moment with Josephine was a positive experience for us and for her, too. I encourage you to observe and listen to the children in your care in the same way. When we let children explore what they are interested in, we are supporting their development. Take the time to create a rich and stimulating environment that has its foundation in what interests the children in your classroom. But my favorite reason to stay in the moment? It reduces stress! As psychologist Abraham Maslow said, “The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.” This is my wish for you and the young children in your care.