Confined at home.
How can we use this time as an opportunity to stimulate our child’s development at home?
Aptamil influencer : Sunny mum
Aptamil Parent-child psychological counselor
National Certified Parent-Child Consultant
National level 2 counselor
Forbes Chinese Top 10 Parent-child Key Opinion Leaders
We recently caught up with Sunny Mum, Parent-child psychological counselor in China, to talk about parenting tips during these exceptional times.
Sunny Mum has been included in Forbes’ exclusive Chinese Top 10 of the top parent-child opinion leaders.
The global pandemic we are experiencing has forced schools and places of work to close. And confinement at home means that we are all living and working under the same roof, often in close quarters. Understandably, parents doing double duty around the clock face physical and mental exhaustion, and kids get bored and cranky.
As an Apta Advice parent-child psychological counselor, I believe this time represents an opportunity. This time together is a gift, as playing with kids at home is a great way to stimulate their intellectual, physical and emotional capacities, while developing their creativity and curiosity. Child Development at home isn’t too hard with fun and interactive indoor child activities.
The following is a guide for how to make the most of this experience as a family.
How parent-child interaction can stimulate a baby’s curiosity:
Babies are naturally curious. Curiosity enables learning and discovery. Studies have found that in the animal world, curiosity favors the development of survival skills, as it compels them to explore, learn, and cope with new environments.
Experience shows us that every baby is different, as are their home environments. External stimulation, provided by parents and siblings is the best education. Now is the time to play with your babies and watch them evolve right in front of your eyes!
“What do I look like”:
Teach you baby to recognize everyday objects by their shapes, sizes and colors to develop their capacity of observation, concentration and exploration.
« Treasure Hunt »:
Organize a treasure hunt for your child at home by hiding their favorite toys and helping them find them using a map of the house. This game develops your child’s capacity for observation, memory and logic.
Other games, like making simple sculptures with folded paper, drawing and other crafts, stimulate their capacity for observation, exploration, and their curiosity for the sensory experience.
My kids love walking our dog, but the epidemic alert has hadn’t been lifted yet, and it was too risky to go out. As a mum, I didn’t want to let them down, so I decided to re-create our typical dog walk indoors, pretending each hallway and corridor was a different street in our neighborhood, and using each piece of furniture to represent our local shops. The “pretend walk” was so much fun, even the dog loved it!
Use the hand and brain to stimulate baby’s creativity:
“Creativity” is one of the hottest trends in global child education. In this technological and scientific era, creativity is one of the most important skills one can learn. It summons up knowledge and intelligence, curiosity and imagination. Happily, nothing is simpler than cultivating your baby’s creativity: It starts with play! Here are a few daily games that can help.
Construction projects using age-appropriate building blocks exercise your baby’s spatial imagination.
Expression Games: Storytelling and creative writing (stories, poems or jokes) help cultivate logical thinking.
Crafts of all kinds develop creativity, concentration, and manual dexterity: Kids love finger painting, clay modelling, collage and other crafts…Let them make a mess while stimulating their imagination! Up the entertainment factor by turning a solitary activity into a contest or a project for two!
In our house, we have a “Hall of Fame” where we hang all the children’s artworks. To motivate them, we even have a family vote on the best finger-paintings. We all comment and compliment each other’s artworks and invent other award to encourage everyone, like “Best use of color” or “Best animal drawing”. The kids love it, and their paintings continue to surprise me!
Become a social master:
Social skills (interactive skills and verbal skills) are essential in life. Babies learn to express themselves by imitating us. Soon they are able to communicate effectively, and it helps them become autonomous members of the family group.
Social skills develop in larger groups, and in normal circumstances, our children are exposed to friends, relatives, teachers and even strangers. But given the current context, contact is limited to parents and siblings. But there are ways to continue working on social skills together!
Guessing Games: Draw a picture for your child and ask him/her to guess what it is. If your drawings skills aren’t up to the task, use words! Play “I Spy” by describing an object in the room and asking them to guess what it is. Then switch roles and get them to spy an object in the room and describe it for you to identify. Both are simple ways of honing language skills for social interaction.
To play this game, ask your child to pretend to be you, while you imitate your child. It’s a fun way to enhance your child’s observation skills and empathy through mime, which are both critical in developing their social skills.
I love role-playing with my children. Once I acted like them, throwing toys around and making a mess, while they took on the role of the parents, and tried to teach me the rules! That did the trick! They instantly understood just how difficult it is for me, as a mother to constantly pick up after them, and that it was their responsibility to keep their room tidy. Let’s hope it lasts!
Babies are born with powerful abilities. Although they are now confined with their families, rest assured that limited space does not equal limited potential. Families now have the time to grow together, finding ways to help their children explore and develop through play and interaction with you.
As they grow up, babies experience many different challenges, gaining strength and understanding of their world. This epidemic requires us to take drastic preventative measures: including both physical isolation and regular disinfection. When it comes to your baby’s health, good nutrition is key to supporting a strong immune system. Your baby will explore their world once again! But right now, we can all seize this opportunity to help them continue to develop their potential.
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