What is a mental leap? Что такое скачки ментального развития детей?
A leap in the mental development of your baby means that suddenly there are many changes in his head. Suddenly, his brain perceives things it wasn’t capable of perceiving before. This change is so great that his entire world suddenly looks different.
Таблица: Скачки ментального развития у детей
Phases in a mental leap
Just as your baby has processed the previous mental leap and has mastered a number of new skills, the next leap announces itself! The life of your baby will change drastically yet again. This process keeps repeating itself during the first two years. Especially in the first three months, when leaps follow one another in rapid sequence.
You can well understand that your baby has not had time to fully master all skills the previous leap made feasible before the next leap begins. That does not matter, because he will keep going, mastering skills made possible by previous leaps while going through the next stages of development. Mastering all the skills made possible by one leap extends beyond several additional leaps.
Mental Leap 1 – Wonder Week 5
Mental Leap 1 – The World of Changing Sensations
For much of the last 4 or 5 weeks, you have watched your infant grow rapidly. You have become acquainted with each other, and you have learned all of his little ways. His world at this time is hard for adults to imagine. It’s in soft focus and its qualities are undefined—in some ways it has not been so different from his life in your womb.
Now, before the mists that envelop this infant world part and allow him to start making sense of all the impressions that he has been busy absorbing in the last few weeks, he will need to go through his first major developmental leap. At about 5 weeks, and sometimes as early as 4, your baby will begin to take the first leap forward in his development.
New sensations bombard your baby inside and out, and he is usually bewildered by them. Some of these new things have to do with the development of his internal organs and his metabolism. Others are a result of his increased alertness—his senses are more sensitive than they were immediately after birth. So it is not so much the sensations themselves that are changing, but rather the baby’s perceptions of them.
Mental Leap 2 – Wonder Week
Mental Leap 2 – The World of Patterns
Sometime around 8 weeks your baby will begin to experience the world in a new way. He will be able to recognize simple patterns in the world around him and in his own body. Although it may be hard for us to imagine at first, this happens in all the senses, not just vision. For example, he may discover his hands and feet and spend hours practicing his skill at controlling a certain posture of his arm or leg. He’ll be endlessly fascinated with the way light displays shadows on the wall of his bedroom. You might notice him studying the detail of cans on the grocery store shelf or listening to himself making short bursts of sounds, such as ah, uh, ehh.
Any of these things—and a whole lot more—signal a big change in your baby’s mental development. This change will enable him to learn a new set of skills that he would have been incapable of learning at an earlier age, no matter how much help and encouragement you gave him. But just as in his previous developmental leap, adjusting to this new world will not come easily at first.
Mental Leap 3 – Wonder Week 12
Mental Leap 3 – The World of Smooth Transitions
With mental leap 3, at around 11 or 12 weeks, your baby will enter yet another new world as he undergoes the third major developmental leap since his birth. You may recall that one of the significant physical developments that occurred at 8 weeks was your baby’s ability to swipe and kick at objects with his arms and legs. These early flailing movements often looked comically puppetlike. At 12 weeks, this jerky action is about to change. Like Pinocchio, your baby is ready to change from a puppet into a real boy.
Of course, this transformation will not happen overnight, and when it does it will entail more than just physical movement, although that’s usually what parents notice most. It will also affect your baby’s ability to perceive with his other senses the way things change around him—such as a voice shifting from one register to another, the cat slinking across the floor, and the light in a room becoming dimmer as the sun dips behind the clouds. Your baby’s world is becoming a more organized place as he discovers the constant, flowing changes around him.
Mental Leap 4 – Wonder Week 19
Mental Leap 4 – The World of Events
The realization that our experience is split up into familiar events is something that we as adults take for granted. For example, if we see someone drop a rubber ball, we know that it will bounce back up and will probably continue to bounce several times. If someone jumps up into the air, we know that she is bound to come down. We recognize the initial movements of a golf swing and a tennis serve, and we know what follows. But to your baby, everything is new, and nothing is predictable.
After the last leap forward, your baby was able to perceive smooth transitions in sound, movement, light, taste, smell, and texture. But all of these transitions had to be simple. As soon as they became more complicated, he was no longer able to follow them.
With mental leap 4, at around 19 weeks (or between 18 and 20 weeks), his ability to understand the world around him becomes far more developed and a little more like our own. He will begin to experiment with events.
Mental Leap 5 – Wonder Week 26
Mental Leap 5 – The World of Relationships
With mental leap 5, at about 26 weeks, your baby will start to show the signs of yet another significant leap in his development. If you watch closely, you will see him doing or attempting to do many new things. Whether or not he is crawling at this stage, he will have become significantly more mobile as he learns to coordinate the action of his arms and legs and the rest of his body. Building on his knowledge of events, he his now able to begin to understand the many kinds of relationships among the things that make up his world.
One of the most significant relationships that your baby can now perceive is the distance between one thing and another. We take this for granted as adults, but for a baby it is an alarming discovery, a very radical change in his world. The world is suddenly a very big place in which he is but a tiny, if very vocal, speck. Something he wants can be on a high shelf or outside the range of his crib, and he has no way of getting to it. His mother can walk away, even if only into the next room, and she might as well have gone to China if he can’t get to her because he’s stuck.
Mental Leap 6 – Wonder Week 37
Mental Leap 6 – The World of Categories
With mental leap 6, at about 37 (or between 36 and 40) weeks, you may notice your baby attempting to do new things. At this age, a baby’s explorations can often seem very methodical. For example, you may notice your little tyke picking up specks from the floor and examining them studiously between his thumb and forefinger.
Or a budding little chef may rearrange the food on his plate by testing the way a banana squashes or spinach squishes through tiny fingers. He will assume the most serious, absorbed expression while carrying out these investigations. In fact, that is just what they are—investigations that will help the little researcher begin to categorize his world.
Your baby is now able to recognize that certain objects, sensations, animals, and people belong together in groups or categories. For example, a banana looks, feels, and tastes different than spinach, but they are both food. These are important distinctions and similarities to sort out. The leap into the world of categories will affect every sense—sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.
Mental Leap 7 – Wonder Week 46
Mental Leap 7 – The World of Sequences
Babies are natural mess-makers. During the last leap in your baby’s mental development, this talent probably seemed at its peak. You may have marveled at your baby’s knack for destruction as he disassembled, tossed around, and squished everything in his path. If you are alert for newly developing skills in your baby, at around 46 weeks you may suddenly notice him doing things that are quite the opposite. He will begin, for the first time, to try to put things together.
Your baby is now ready to discover the world of sequences. From this age on, he can begin to realize that to reach many of his goals, he has to do things in a certain order to be successful. You may now see your baby looking first to see which things go together and how they go together before trying to put them in each other, pile them on top of each other, or piece them together. For instance, he may concentrate on aiming as well as he can before trying to pile one block on top of another. He may push a peg through a hole in a peg board only after he has compared the shape of the peg to the hole.
Mental Leap 8 – Wonder Week 55
Mental Leap 8 – The World of Programs
Every child’s first birthday is a significant occasion. The end of the first year means for many parents the beginning of the end of babyhood. Your little cherub is about to become a toddler. In many ways, of course, she is still a baby. She still has so much to learn about her world—which has become such an interesting place to explore. She can get around so much better now, though, and she has become adept at getting into everything that interests her.
Shortly after the first birthday, at around 55 weeks, your little one will have gone through another big change in his mental development and will be ready to explore the world of programs. This will make her seem even more like a little person with her own way of approaching the world. A watchful parent will begin to see the blossoming of a new understanding in the toddler’s way of thinking.
The word “programs” is very abstract. Here’s what it means in this context. In the previous leap in development, your baby learned to deal with the notion of sequences—the fact that events follow one after another. Programs are patterns of if-then decisions. The next sequence that is expected depends on what has just happened, instead of repeating every time.
Mental Leap 9 – Wonder Week 64
Mental Leap 9 – The World of Principles
For the first time, your child is now able to change programs he’s learned so far. And he loves playing with this. You can see how he varies the programs endlessly and studies all consequences of this. You can see how he does all kinds of “physical antics,” gets acquainted with the outdoors, starts to be more skillful with things and language, imitates others, role-plays daily life, practices emotions, starts to think ahead, starts nagging to get his way, starts to put on drama-play, starts to “demand” a vote, starts to be “aggressive,” can distinguish between mine and yours, starts being nice and placating to get on mom’s good side, starts to make jokes to get around the rules, starts negotiating and bargaining, starts experimenting with “yes” and “no,” starts to know how to get someone to do something for him, learns to do something together, wants to help in the household, and experiments with “thoughtless” vs. “careful.”
Mental Leap 10 – Wonder Week 75
Mental Leap 10 – The World of Systems
With the tenth leap, 75 weeks after due date, or more easily said, 17 months, your toddler gets the new ability to perceive and handle “systems.” He is now able to see clearly over the world of principles. He no longer applies principles as rigidly as before. He is able to adjust his principles to changing circumstances. He also starts to understand that he can choose how he wants to be: honest, helpful, careful, patient, etc. Or, he could choose to be just the opposite. From off this age you can see him develop the earliest beginnings of a conscience by systematically upholding his values and norms.
We adults use the term “system” if the parts it consists of are interdependent and function as a whole. There are tangible examples, like a grandfather clock that needs winding, en electrical network or the human muscle system. There as also less tangible examples such as human organizations. To name just a few examples, take the scouts, the family, the drama club, the police station, the church, our society, our culture, and the law.
You can’t spoil babies, but you can toddlers! By understanding what is happening inside that little head of your newly formed toddler – and remember, they are pretty savvy – you can shape the future behavior of your toddler and set values and norms that will carry him through life.
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