Studies reveal that 1 in 5 children experience mental illness.
Referrals for children who are weak, uncoordinated, unmotivated, behaviourally challenged, anxious and inattentive come to Therapeeze all the time.
Over years of experience there has been a huge change in young children...and not always for the good! It shows up as depression, anxiety, inattentiveness and suicidal thoughts.
I have witnessed first hand over the past decade how many children are not developing the foundations of learning through play, movement and connection due to our busy schedules and technology enriched lives.
When this foundation is not fostered early, it cracks (much like the foundation of a house that isn’t poured properly) and it shows up in the form of mental illness and academic struggles later in life.
While I know this is a stressful time and the global pandemic abruptly changed our lives overnight, I’m hopeful that there will be a silver lining that comes in the form of getting back to the basics of learning for the improvement of our children’s brain development. I do feel that we’ve been given the gift of lots of time to connect, play, move and grow with our children.
Even if you are still working, your children now have time to work on independent play skills and new life skills that they otherwise would not get a chance to practice during the school day.
This is why I’m so passionate about getting all of my help and expertise out to the world right now. I’m living this with you and I feel so fortunate to have my training about child brain development right now.
I know you may have anxiety about your child missing their academic studies. If they are motivated to do their school work then great. However, if your child is struggling and seems to be less than enthused about the next academic worksheet or online task, here is what you can do instead.
Know that these are the foundations for learning and will benefit your child’s brain development in the most powerful way.
So no more parent guilt!
This may be in the form of talking, hugging, reading, going for a walk or just playing something that your child chooses.
Play is the work of the child!
It is how they learn new things!
Ask your child what they want to learn more about.
Find new ways to make learning fun. Think about your child’s favourite activities and interests and turn them into a learning opportunity. For example...
Does your child love playing with cars?
Work on counting them or putting them in a pattern based on colours.
Does your child love soccer?
Try kicking the ball to identify numbers or letters written in chalk on the driveway.
When a child is interested in the activity, learning takes place naturally!
Exercise releases endorphins “feel good chemicals”.
I think we can all use more endorphins during this stressful time.
There are also countless studies that prove there is a mind-body connection and that learning is enhanced when students get to learn by moving.
There are so many free online options available right now. Check out movers are groovers blog for a list of these!
Tickling, telling jokes, dancing, pillow fights, watch a funny show together. Laughter really is the best medicine!
Tie shoelaces, potty training (if they are ready and interested), laundry, cooking, build something, typing, gardening. There are many possibilities here.
Continue to have daily quiet time/nap time so everyone gets some alone time. My little girl is one so nap time is made the most of in this house! But if you don’t have children who nap, spend time in separate rooms each afternoon to read, draw, do legos, play cars, listen to music or an audiobook. Don’t forget to take care of yourself! I’m really making it a point to do some meditation and walk or do yoga each day.
Kids thrive on routine but there’s no need to be a martyr about it right now. Having some constant activities throughout the day as anchor points can help to ease your child’s (and your) mind about how you will get through the day. However, not having to rush through any one activity can be one of the blessings of this social distancing time.
Letting your child experience boredom is actually a great way to spark their creativity!
It is not your job to entertain them all day so you can let go of that pressure and know that you are actually supporting their brain development just by letting them figure out ways to play independently.
Are you ready to ditch the worksheets?
I hope that these general tips help put your mind at ease about meeting your child’s developmental needs without stressing over the worksheets. You are doing an amazing job and remember that we are all in this together!