Teaching versus learning. What do you teach a baby?

Do you teach them, or do they just learn?

The baby is doing new stuff.  She is crawling, standing and almost walking (I think).  She makes deliberate noises and copies us.  She moves things to where she wants them to be.  One of the nicest things she has developed is a sense of anticipation – I can count  “one…..two…..” and I can see in her fact that she knows something will happen when i say “three”.

Yesterday, she clapped for the first time (and by clapped, I mean she rubbed her hands together three times, after watching me clap and hearing me say the word, then smiled gleefully like she’d just invented rainbows).

I’ve been trying to teach her to clap for months.  Its a cracking skill to learn – you can use it to signal approval, sarcasm, joy, give encouragement etc.  It’s basic percussion and I’ve always wanted a child who is also an amazing drummer.  But mainly, I’ve been teaching her because I want the credit for it.  I know a few older babies who learned to clap when they started nursery so now I’m convinced  that every nursery employs a Director of Clapping who delivers a week long intensive clap-development course using DVDs and gloves connected by an elastic band,  just so the parents think “oh it must be a good nursery, she learned to clap”.

Anyway – the thing is, I don’t know if I can take credit for anything Ada can do.  I sure keep her mobile, I fling her around and encourage her to be physical, I stand her up and show her things.  She is pretty strong and more mobile that most babies we meet but then, she’s also smaller and lighter too.  I wonder whether some milestones are just destined to be reached at a particular time, but I asked a friend who is a pediatrician and he explained that it is basic input-output – the more they practice something the faster they develop.  So I upped the clapping training and it seemed to have worked.

With this in mind, what else can I start to teach her?  I think spoon-use would be handy because at the moment, watching her eat is like watching Bugsy Malone’s gang test their spud-catapults. I guess pointing is something else she needs to learn.  But these are all standard.  I need some inspiration – what can I teach her next?



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