We all want the children in our lives to grow up happy and confident with lots of friends around them. Did you know that work starts at birth?
The World Health Organisation recommends no screen time for kids before the age of 2. As impossible as that seems, when you limit the amount of time your baby and toddler spends in front of a DVD, phone or tablet, you allow their minds to develop as they are supposed to. It is through play and human interaction that they learn to speak and form strong healthy relationships. Research shows that for every hour per day children ages 17-24 months spend watching DVDs, TV and using Apps, understood an average of 6-8 words less than infants who did not watch them.
So what can you do instead? These 3 things will help ensure your child feels safe and connected and grows strong connections in their brain for learning.
- Reading to them EVERY day provides them with a rich vocabulary and some time to be close to you. If you have older children, get them involved as well by asking them to read to the younger ones. Start a collection of your favorite books from childhood. You can borrow books from the library for an easy and affordable way to keep reading interesting and fun.
- Playing with them helps them learn sequences, following instructions and, most importantly, using their imaginations. As a working mother, I used a timer to make sure I was present with my child in her imagination play for at least 15 minutes every day. Some days we built a tower, some days we played with her dolls, but it was always up to her. For those parents who really enjoy playing and have the time to play longer, there is no telling how many fairies or super heros you might be in a day. On the nice days, heading to the park, a nature play area or the beach are great ways to add in some climbing and more sensory play. Dancing and rhyming also play a part to brain super charge their brains with learning connections. Movements of all kinds are the basis for brain growth and maturity as they learn about the world around them. Before your child can stand of their own, holding them and dancing around the room to your favorite song will be quite fun for both of you. Once they can move on their own, you can add in some crawling, jumping, rolling or spinning and clapping to put as much stimulus into their brain as possible.
- Hold, touch, massage and cuddle your child. Gentle massage along the spine is a great way to help calm your child and get them ready for sleep. You can use your hand, a soft brush, or a warm wheat bag to create a sense of calm and comfort. Sometimes a tight swaddle, even for older kids, can help get the brain and nerve system to slow down and get into a calm state.
For the benefit of your child and yourself, put your phone down and be physically and emotionally present with them during these activities EVERY SINGLE DAY. No distractions, no notifications, no other agenda than your little one. Don’t just tell them you love them and they are important. Show them.
Thanks for reading.
Edna Giuntini, chiropractor
Below are the refernces I have used to create this newsletter. I have combined this with my own experience to give the best advice I can. If you would like me to speak to your group or provide a workshop as a PD event, please contact me on my mobile or my email. Thank you. May today be healthier and brighter than yesterday.