Copyright © 2012, Stephen Hawley, all rights reserved.
This installment is easy. Super easy. So easy it’s sitting right under your nose:
That’s right, it’s a box of tissues. Around month 10 (give or take), children start to develop means-end behavior. This is where they need to overcome a simple obstacle to get what they want. You can start with a box of tissues. Put it in front of your child and show how you can pull out a tissue. Encourage her to pull tissues out. Yes, you will have tissues all over the floor. Yes, you will have the problem that you have now trained your child to empty any tissue box. This will pass. You are jump-starting language and cognition. Are they enjoying it a little too much? No problem – put your child in a high chair at a table and put the tissue box out of reach, but put a towel or cloth place mat under the box so that he can reach it. Your child will discover, with encouragement, that she can pull on the placement and bring the box to her so she can pull out tissues.
You can get the same effect with a pull toy:
by putting the string just within reach, your child will learn to pull on it to get the reward of the toy. You don’t even need a pull toy – you can tie a string to his favorite toy and get the same effect (of course, you as careful parents wouldn’t leave a long string on the toy for play without some supervision).
Also, remember those blocks from part 2? Time to start presenting and hiding them under a bowl or a towel. As your child develops object permanence, this will be a very entertaining game (as will be peek-a-boo).