Parenting Resource

Mia, Age 13 Months, Develops Thinking Skills

May 19, 2010

Watch to see how Rosanna guides Mia through the problem of how to get the balls out of the tube.

To view this video in Spanish, click here.

To Think About:

  • How is Mia using her problem-solving and thinking skills during this activity?
  • How does Rosanna encourage Mia’s thinking skills?
  • What might Mia be learning about problem-solving as she works on this problem?

What the Experts Say About This Interaction

What Mia does:

  • Figures out how this toy works—dropping balls one by one into the top.
  • In response to her mother’s question, looks carefully at the toy to see how to get the balls out.
  • Asks questions of her mother using facial expressions and gestures.
  • Very patiently and persistently tries to solve this problem of removing the balls.
  • Listens to her mother’s coaching and uses her as a resource to solve the problem.

What Rosanna does:

  • Communicates excitement and curiosity about how this toy works, mirroring Mia’s experience. Celebrates Mia’s success when she drops all the balls into the toy.
  • Coaches Mia through the activity—helping her problem-solve—rather than doing it for her. This is a very powerful way to build a child’s thinking skills.
  • When Mia confronts a challenge—how to get the balls out—Rosanna wonders with her how they can get them out rather than doing it for her. This builds language, and thinking skills, as well as self-control.
  • Eventually shows Mia how to get the balls out, realizing that Mia could not figure it out all by herself. But doesn’t take them out for her—lets * * Mia do that so she experiences a sense of mastery.

Think About How Your Child Is Learning These Skills

How is your child developing thinking skills through her everyday interactions with you? Here are some questions to think about:

  • How does your child like to explore the world around him? Does he prefer to use his fingers and hands to figure out how things work, or does he like to be on the move, using his large muscles (arms and legs) to explore?
  • What kinds of activities does your child seek out and truly enjoy? Why do you think he prefers these activities?
  • Think about a recent playtime with your child.
  • What was he exploring?
  • How did he go about his exploration?
  • What do you think he was learning?
  • Did you participate in his play? If so, how? What impact did you participation have?

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