These days most of the parent’s main concern is how to keep the mind – numbing gadgets away from our child?
One way to keep our kids away from the gadgets, is to engage them in some brain boosting activities that will keep not only our kids but also all the members of our family busy for days to come. As we all know that, the brain is involved in everything we do, and like any other part of the body, it needs to be cared too. We need to exercise our brain to improve memory, concentration or simply daily functioning. A child’s brain develops rapidly from the birth through the age of 5. That is 90% of all brain development occurs by the age of 5.
Brain development is part of cognitive development. It describes how a child’s intellect grows, and includes thinking learning and problem solving skills. These skills are key to all others areas of development. The first five years of a child’s life are critical for learning and development. Many parents often ask how they can facilitate their child’s brain development. The best way is to actively engage your child through everyday activities like playing, reading and most important being there when he/she feels stress.
1. Communicate with your child -
Start talking to your child about everything around him/her eg: Like every action you do -sitting, standing, cooking etc. Talk about common objects like door, plate, shoes, dress. Feelings like - happy, sad, cold, and hot. Taste like - Sour, sweet, salty literally everything. This practice will help your child have good vocabulary, a good grasp of all the activities around your child.
2. Introduce Books through Storytelling and Narrating Events.
Books play a vital role in brain development, language skills and also a first step to gross motor skill development (through holding the book and turning pages).It is better to introduce books as early as early as possible i.e from the age of 5 to 6 months (Introduce books) then gradually move on to paper books. Choose books with big and colourful pictures of objects, animals, brads and shapes. When your child is around 1𝟏 𝟐 years old introduce simple short stories with illustrated pictures. Then move on to activity books, likes, matching, pairing, colouring etc.
3. Ask questions
Asking questions while driving your child to school, outing with family, shopping ect. Instead of handling over a phone/tab/laptop to make your child sit quietly, talk to your child. Ask questions about what you see around you? Ask your child questions like the brand name of the vehicle, the category of the vehicle any specific feature that the child has observed. Similarly talk about birds, animals, flowers, fruits, vegetables, etc. play I spy game to stimulate child’s brain. Describe objects and ask your child to identify it.
4. Explore senses through touch, feel, smell, taste.
As we are aware of the fact that kids have natured tendency to explore the world around them through touch, feel, taste etc, especially when they start crawling. Therefore never stop your child from exploring around him/her. Most of us parents often stop our child from playing with mud/stand in the park/garden, or tasting things like bitter gourd. Before the child could lay his/her hand it and explore the taste, we tell the child “No it’s bitter". Instead we must let the child experience and explore themselves that the bitter gourd is rough to hold and bitter in taste. Here, our only responsibility should be to keep things out of reach of Children if it is harmful like sharp objects which can hurt the child or hot objects which can burn child's skin
5. Dance your heart out with good music.
Kids love music. Introduce them to all kind of music and dance. This will to help your child have a good ear for rhythm and music. It will also help your child have good physical activity to channelize the understanding energy in a positive way. Singing and listening to songs is also a good mental activity.
6. Memory Games
To enhance child's memory use the gadget which the child loves to play with, that is the smartphone or the family computer. Whenever your child sees some old family photos, describe to him/her, what was the event, what did he/she do, who all were present, which places you visited etc. This activity will help your child build memory of past events and also recognize people from photos, associate things with specific event like – diy’s with Diwali or balloons and cakes with birthday.
7. Let them be on their own
It’s ok if your child spills little food Log water on a table initially but, that is his / her first step towards being self-reliant. Initially, it might be time consuming for you to let child wear his / her shoes children figure out things themselves. It is a personal experience, my son start eating independently and trying shoe on his own when he was three as old. Therefore a little independence and patience from our (parents) side will help our child be self-reliant and responsible so, it is always better to let your child do some of his / her activities by themselves.
8. A Balanced diet
As the famous proverb days ‘a healthy mind dwells in a healthy body’. A balanced nutritious diet is extremely necessary - seasonal vegetables added in parathas, pulao, upma etc. Seasonal fruits-It is always best to have the whole fruit instead of juices as the whole fruit consists of fibers, essential for the process of digestion. Whole Wheat, roti, rice, breed. Curd, cheese etc. And sometimes a scoop of ice-cream and some sweets also is good for children.
A blend of all these activities is going to help your child have a good grasp of Language, motor skills, increase concentration and being self-reliant.
Please note: The above activities will not boost your child’s brain instantly. Rather these activities will help develop brain power gradually throughout childhood.