How to realise your child's potential
There is probably no single factor more crucial to the development of your child's intelligence than curiosity arid the urge to enquire into the nature of things. Fortunately curiosity is a characteristic shown by almost all children who are developing normally. From the first few weeks when your baby starts exploring her surroundings with her eyes, ears, fingers and mouth she is driven by the need to discover and experience. If you feed this initial curiosity in an appropriate way as described in Chapter 5 she will be encouraged to continue developing this trait.
Too many or unsuitable stimuli will not have the desired effect and she will shut them out.
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Most families provide an adequate environment for babies in the first months unless there is gross neglect. But once a child becomes mobile, a number of other factors come into play which are not always conducive to optimal mental development. The parents' attitude to the child's exploration of her environment, whether she is allowed to touch things, is talked to, and taken out and about, will all contribute to promoting her curiosity or stifling it.
By the time children reach their second year there is usually a noticeable difference between those who come from a privileged home where they are talked to and encouraged to display curiosity, and those from underprivileged homes where the parents are either too pressured by their own problems or believe a child should be seen and not heard.
Encouraging the inquiring mind is no small task and a great deal of patience and sensitivity on the part of the adult is required. But it is fascinating to see the world clearly again through a child's unpolluted view. Strangely, even though the toy industry is a huge money-spinner very few toys have been developed that cater for the real needs of children. Often it is the box, not the contents, that is of most value and interest to a child.