Can parents really help make their child smarter?
That got your attention huh? : )
Research tells us that up to 90% of a child’s brain development happens in the first five years of life. Experts also know that play-based learning provides the greatest benefit for young children and can support their language, cognitive, physical and social/emotional development.
In today’s busy world, this is a pretty daunting prospect for us parents. There are so many co-curricular activities, work demands to meet the cost of living, technology and more to contend with, which means little down time to spend actively ‘playing’ with the kids.
In years gone by, kids developed their gross motor skills, coordination, language and fine motor skills by playing with the kids in the street and the surrounding neighbourhood by climbing trees, building forts, creating club houses etc. and there was less of a preoccupation with academic prowess.
This type of childhood unfortunately doesn’t exist for our kids. And this means that parents now need to actively and consciously incorporate core skill development for their child into their daily lives.
So much easier said than done! How do we know where to go to:
- Understand what these core skills are, without the jargon?
- Know what these skills could look like as an activity that is actually fun for our kids?
- Find hacks that are actually realistic in the busy home setting i.e. little or no-prep, mess free etc.
Hands-On Heads does all this and more by taking the learning outcomes for 0-5 year olds and creating simple activities you and the kids can do at home, using equipment you already have. Hands-On Heads offers face-to-face sessions as well as weekly Facebook posts with hacks from the founder who is a Mum and an experienced primary school teacher.
The key development areas for 0-5 year olds are explained using six special characters that kids love and parents can relate to. They sum up the six key ways you can get hands-on with your child and support their early learning.
Oral language and talking to your kids is so valuable. In particular modelling the correct language -‘Parrot them and they will Parrot you!’ This lays the foundations for early literacy skills.
Slow down and take in the sensory delights that are around you and your child. Encourage your child to tap into their senses and try and expose them to lots of different sensory experiences. This supports cognitive development and regulation of the body.
When possible let your child ‘lead’ the play or the conversation. Remember to O.W.L.
Observe – What has grabbed their attention?
Wait – For them to engage with it or comment
Listen – To WHAT they are trying to say, rather than HOW
Encourage role-play and imagination. This is how children process their world, by acting out different roles and scenarios. It is vital for their social and emotional wellbeing.
Get moving. Both small and large muscle groups needs to be engaged everyday.
The Cheeky Charlies:
Laughter and fun are so important for young children. Giggle, be silly, put on funny voices when you are playing with your kids and find your inner child.
Elder the Elephant:
Explore your own family traditions and share stories from your childhood with your children. This builds a strong sense of self and an understanding of where they belong.
Remember these six and you’ll be a Hands-On Head, supporting your child’s early development with a bit of creativity and playfulness.
For more information about sessions go to: www.handonheads.com.au