Janet Doman on how to engage kids
Childhood expert Janet Doman was recently in Singapore to deliver a seminar on 'What To Do About Your Brain-Injured Child' from 30th July to 2 Aug, and The Asian Parent got an exclusive chance to speak with her.
She was able to share more about the Glenn Doman teaching method, and how it can benefit a brain-injured child. Beyond that, being an expert in the field of infant and child development, Janet also shared her insights on how the Glenn Doman method can benefit well children intellectually, physically, and socially.
We also asked Janet for her insights on how mothers can engage young children:
Question: What’s your advice for young mums – what is the best activity to engage their child?
Janet Doman (JD): “First of all, get rid of all the gadgets and the gizmos. Throw the tv out the window, you really want to be nose to nose with the baby and one of the best thing to do is to teach the baby to read aside from the fact that it’s simple to do, mothers will really get to know the baby.”
Doman also emphasised on the importance of mothers speaking to their babies from an early age:
JD: “(The mother) She gets to realize, “oh he likes these words, he doesn’t really like these words”. She will also realize that the child is a lot smarter than I thought he was (because babies are a lot smarter). They do understand when you talk to them intelligently and mother will get to know him.
Babies are a lot smarter than you think
Doman strongly recommends that you should not until your child can talk before you start speaking to him and it will help you understand why your child is upset:
JD: “Our mothers know their babies by the time the baby is 3 months old. Another mother may not know her child that well until he is two! We adults, stupidly wait until a child can talk then we think he has a brain, because he is talking but babies have a good brain since day 1 and reading gives the baby a way of communicating.”
“Mothers can go “do you want your red shorts or do you want your blue shorts?” “yes or no?” and the baby will say “no”. “How about orange?” “Okay, let’s go with the orange shorts”.
That simple action with a 3 month old baby, makes all the difference in the world. I mean if you have a kid who is screaming, most adults just say, “oh the baby is tired, we will put him down, he needs a nap” but no one ever asks the baby, “why are you screaming?” and when you do that, immediately, the screaming stops and by the way, it’s not always that he is tired. Its maybe because somebody took that object that he was holding away from him without his permission and he’s ticked off.”
Engaging kids through good communication
Above all, Janet Doman stresses that mothers have to change their mindset when it comes to engaging with their children because they are constantly looking up to you all the time:
JD: "Again, good communication changes everything for mother and kid. All of a sudden, its not “oh I have to take care of this lil blob who doesn’t understand anything” but “this is my best friend, this guy is smart, he's learning, he's looking to me for help” – it changes everything."
Janet Doman is a specialist in infant education and is the coauthor, with her father– brain development pioneer Glenn Doman, of How Smart Is Your Baby?: Develop and Nurture Your Newborn’s Full Potential.