Familiar spaces are comfortable places to learn and grow. There are many familiar places to take your child regularly, such as the library, the grocery store, or the doctor’s office. For you, they are routine, but for young children, these places are fascinating and new.
Infants and toddlers with and without disabilities naturally explore the world, and they are excited to discover the “new” in their spaces. Perhaps you have seen an infant looking intently at a toy that is just out of arms reach. She might stretch her arm as far as she can until she finds herself rolling onto her belly and grasping the toy. You may have seen a toddler crouching on the sidewalk to watch ants crawl. He might point to the ants and look at his mom with a puzzled expression to let her know he wants to know more about these insects. Curiosity motivates all young children to explore the spaces around them. Opportunities to learn and grow happen naturally when we tune into this curiosity and share in the excitement of discovery with children.
Many families experience challenges when balancing household tasks, community obligations, early intervention, and work. Laundry, cooking, EI providers, and errands always seem to take more time than we expect. The day fills up quickly when you add busy children playing and making a mess to the mix. Families may feel even more time pressure when they try to think of ways to incorporate EI strategies into everyday routines in familiar and new spaces. Adults can more easily do this when they tune into the excitement and curiosity that infants and toddlers have about exploring their spaces. Your child is like a traveler in a new land, and you are the tour guide! A good tour guide talks about everything he sees, smells, touches, and tastes.