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How To Choose A Developmentally Appropriate Baby Gift

Oct 13, 2007
Many of us are often in a position to buy a gift for a baby, whether our own child, or a friend or family member's child. Often we buy the baby toy that looks fun or that we guess is developmentally appropriate. Sometimes we buy what we've seen other buy, or what we've seen relentlessly advertised. But we don't always realize that understanding a child's developmental level can help us not only pick a toy the child will enjoy, it could also pay important dividends later on.

In fact, understanding the basic psychology of child development can help you buy a baby toy that will speed the child motor, cognitive, physical, or emotional development.

Here is an example:

The great researcher Piaget believed that children progress through the following developmental stages:

1. Sensorimotor stage (birth - 2 years old). During this developmental stage, the child begins to understand his or her world and how things work. This is the stage where a child does not know that physical objects remain in existence even when out of sight (also called object permanence).

2. Preoperational stage (ages 2-7). The child in this stage cannot think abstractly and needs concrete situations, but does understand that objects still exist out of his or her awareness. This is a very important leap because it helps the child begin to realize the he or she is a separate being, with distinct needs, wants, and feelings.

Piaget believed that during these development stages, the child can advance quicker through processes called assimilation and accommodation. In short what these processes suggest is that a baby who is younger than two years-old can be taught to progress to the next developmental stage quicker than he would have otherwise through specific learning and training fostered by the parent. The choice of appropriate developmentally appropriate toys and playthings can make this learning fun!

So, for example, a developmentally appropriate baby toy for an 18 month old might be a peek-a-boo game or an open-the-flap book. These toys might speed the child's progression toward the Preoperational stage by allowing the child to assimilate what he or she is seeing from the toy into a larger understanding of object permanence in the world.

This was just one example of how your generous baby gift can do more that give a child hours of enjoyment. You can actually speed a child's social, emotional, and cognitive development by choosing a developmentally appropriate baby toy.
About the Author
For more information about developmentally appropraite baby toys and gifts, baby showers, and infant and child development, please go to http://www.baby-center.co.uk
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