Parenting, teaching

Flashcards for babies

Our daughter attends right brain enrichment classes once a week. One of the right brain training activities is flashing cards at a speed of about three cards per second.  (I still can’t do it at this speed today). 

Brain studies have shown that babies use mainly their right brain when they are born until about two to three years old when their left brain becomes dominant.  Right brain processes information without logic. It is the creative side of our brain.  As children enters the age of two to three years old, they start to ask many “whys” (the naughty two stage), and that is when their left brain starts to be dominant – left brain processes information with logic.

The right brain enrichment classes aims to stimulate babies’ right brain usage during the golden period from newborn to about two to three years old, and when they are older, the training will transit to focus on right-left brain communication.  If the training is successful, the child will habitually use both right and left brain together when they are older – and this supposedly means they are smarter compared to other children who mainly use only one side of their brain.


DOs and DON’Ts of making flashcards:

I make flashcards for our daughter with cards that are thick and smooth (for faster flashing speed). Each set of flashcards should belong to one topic. E.g. if you flash a set of cards with animals, do not include non animal pictures. (i.e. don’t show animals and vehicles in the same set of cards).  

The cards should be flashed by flipping each card from the back of a stack to the front of the stack.  As each card lands on the front of the stack, you should have finished reading the description of the picture. E.g. if you are flipping a card showing an apple, the sound “ple” should coincide with the card landing at the front of the stack.  As you will not be able to see the picture (as it is facing your baby / child), it is helpful to write the descriptive words at the back of the each card – on the top left corner so that your hand which is holding the stack of cards will not be blocking the words.

Start from a small number of cards and gradually increase the number of cards.  I started with about 8 set of flashcards. Each set of flashcards should have a cover page, and should contain about 10 cards.  Therefore, I started with about 80 cards.  I’m now showing about 140 cards.  

Frequency of the showing flashcards should be limited to once a day.  Flashing cards more than once a day defeats the purpose of right brain training.

If you cannot flash the cards at 3 cards per second, then do it as fast as you can, but not so fast until your cards starts dropping every time you change a card.  As you practice, your speed should improve. It is better to go slower than the ideal speed, than to drop all your cards while flashing them.

If your baby starts to look elsewhere when you are flashing the cards, it means that they are bored with the cards.  If you are a working mother and have no time to make that many cards to rotate topics weekly or twice monthly, then one quick way is to rearrange the topics in another order, or within each set of cards, rearrange the order the cards are flashed.  Alternatively, you can change the cover pages.

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