Dear parents, when you think about your child, one thing is certain: he is developing at a rapid pace. In the first five years of life, it perceives the world with all of its senses and is constantly learning. The development of the senses is of crucial importance because it forms the basis for all further developments. In this guide I would like to give you an overview of sensory development in babies and toddlers so that you know what to expect and how you can support and encourage your child.
Many parents wonder why sensory development is so important. After all, children learn on their own, don't they? Yes, that's true, but only to a limited extent. Sensory development is the key to the world. It is the basis for cognitive, emotional and social development. Babies and toddlers perceive the world through seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling, thereby creating the basis for further development.
The first months: seeing, hearing and feeling
The first few months are crucial for the development of the senses. Babies are born with very limited vision and hearing, but they develop quickly. At first you only see black and white and can only recognize rough shapes. But as the months pass, their vision improves and they begin to see colors and finer details. The same is true with hearing. At first, babies can only perceive loud noises, but over time they learn to pay attention to quieter sounds and recognize speech. Touching is also important for babies to discover the world around them. By grasping objects and exploring surfaces, they learn to improve their dexterity.
- Show your baby colors and shapes, for example through picture books with high-contrast illustrations.
- Talk to your baby a lot so that he or she recognizes your voice and language.
- Place your baby on different surfaces, such as soft fur or rough fabrics, to help them develop their sense of touch.
The first birthday: speaking, tasting and smelling
With their first birthday, babies begin to perceive their world in a different way. They start to talk and can communicate. Their senses of taste and smell also continue to develop. You learn to recognize and taste different foods. The sense of smell also becomes more and more pronounced.
- Talk to your baby a lot and repeat words and sentences so that he can improve his language skills.
- Offer your baby different flavors and let him try different foods.
- Let your baby smell different smells, such as fresh flowers or spices.
The second and third years of life: movement and body awareness
In the second and third years of life, sensory development is accompanied by physical development. Toddlers learn to control their bodies and improve their motor skills. They can orientate themselves better and learn to perceive their environment from a new perspective. The perception of movement and sense of balance are also further developed.
- Let your child play outside and exercise to improve their motor skills.
- Play together to promote orientation and spatial perception.
- Offer your child different materials, such as playdough or sand, to further develop their sense of touch.
The fourth and fifth years of life: Social and emotional senses
In the fourth and fifth years of life, the social and emotional senses continue to develop. Children learn to build relationships and empathize with others. They can express their emotions better and also understand the feelings of others. Creativity and imagination are also encouraged.
- Offer your child lots of opportunities to play and be creative, for example with paints and craft materials.
- Read books together to encourage his imagination and imagination.
- Help your child improve their social skills, for example by playing with other children.
Abnormalities and developmental delays
It is important to know that every child develops individually. Some children need more time than others to develop their senses. However, if you notice any abnormalities in your child, you should not hesitate to seek professional help. Even if you are unsure, you should speak to a professional.
- Work with professionals to provide targeted support for your child.
- Stay patient and give your child the time they need.