Guiding Mindfulness Exercises – Breathing

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We all know how much of a challenge it can be to get a bright, bubbly and energetic child to sit still for longer than a few minutes. At certain stages of their development, the importance of ‘slowing down’ and reflecting should be emphasised. The exercises outlined below will assist you and your child in becoming more mindful of yourselves and others.

Talk to them beforehand to explain the exercises and why they are good for them. Play some quiet background music to help them focus. Don’t force your child to participate in these exercises if they don’t want to. Learning to listen to yourself is one important learning aspect of mindfulness. Read more

What can your child learn from mindfulness?

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Children process a lot of information in one day. They deal with all kinds of stimuli and often change their attention from one stimulus to another. With so much information to take in, it can be overwhelming for your child.

Mindfulness is a good exercise to take the time to focus on yourself, be in the present, and acknowledge your feelings1. When you pay attention to your feelings for long enough, you can control how you feel by changing your thoughts and choosing to let go of the negative feelings. Read more

The Importance of Breakfast for a Child

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Whether or not your child eats breakfast can determine how they will fare for the rest of the day — will they be happy and energetic, or grumpy and tired? Breakfast is important because:

  1. It helps maintain a healthy weight for your child
  2. It provides energy and stamina for the rest of the day
  3. It improves mood and concentration
  4. It can affect your child’s education

However, more and more children are skipping breakfast before going to school. This can cause a huge impact on their growth and development. But, don’t worry! Here are 3 tricks you can use to encourage your child to eat breakfast:

  1. Model the behaviour you want your child to learn
  2. Keep breakfast light
  3. Give them options

Check to see if your child’s school offers a breakfast program if they can’t have breakfast at home!

Read more about this topic here.

Fine Motor Skills Development in Children

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The development of fine motor skills in early childhood will affect the physical and mental development of your child. Fine motor development allows them to become increasingly independent. This can build confidence and increase self-esteem and will, in turn, have a positive influence on their social interactions and school success.

Your child will go through 3 stages of development before acquiring fine motor skills:

  1. Whole arm development
  2. Whole hand development
  3. Pincer and pincher grasp

There are many fun activities that you can do with your child at home to help train their fine motor skills.

Check out our blog post here for some ideas!

The Importance of Sleep to Children’s Development

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We go through two states of sleep each night:

Non-rapid eye movement or quiet sleep — Your body physically repairs itself during this state.

Rapid eye movement or active sleep — This state is responsible for cognitive development.

Young children (0–5 years) sleep for more than half the day as a huge part of their physical and cognitive development takes place during sleep. Sleep deprivation in children can cause a significant impact on their behaviour, development, and mental & physical health.

If your child is having some trouble going to sleep, here are 3 tips you can use to help your little ones go to bed on time:

  1. Create a regular sleep routine
  2. Remove any external distractions
  3. Ensure a conducive sleep environment

These 3 tips are guaranteed to help your child get a good night’s sleep! It is also important for you to be aware of their sleep patterns and note any problems if there are any.

Read here to find out more about how sleep deprivation can affect your child’s development.

Keeping Your Child Active During the Holidays

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The holidays can be stressful for parents. It can be challenging to come up with ideas to help release your child’s high energy when there are no set schedules.

Here are some ideas you can follow to keep your child active while retaining the skills they learnt at school:

  1. Family bonding activities can be simple. A family trip to the museum or family game night will be exciting!
  2. Sporting and adventure can be a good outlet to release your child’s high-energy. A good outdoor playtime will be good for their physical health!
  3. Nature experience can be educational and beneficial for their mental wellbeing in the long-term. Take them out on a hike or organise a family camp-out!
  4. Helping them find their hobbies can help them build interests that can turn into careers and facilitate skill development.
  5. Relaxing days are also good for your child to take a break. That’s what holidays are for, after all!

Make sure to balance both high-energy activities — to keep them active — and low-energy, relaxing activities to allow you and your child to recharge.

Read here to find out more about the activities you can do with your child during the holidays.

3 Ways to Help Your Child Break Out of Their Shell

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Building Social Interaction Skills

It can be tough to see your child struggling to interact with others in social situations. There are two components that should be met before they are comfortable interacting with others — understanding social concepts and using those concepts.

It is easy for children to understand the meaning and importance of social concepts. But most children struggle with putting those concepts into action. There are exercises you can do with your child at home to help feel more comfortable in social situations. These include:

  1. Coaching social behaviours
  2. Role-play
  3. Positive reinforcement

Going through these 3 exercises will equip your child with the necessary skills for them to interact with their peers at childcare or at school!

Read here to find out how you can use those exercises to help your child.

What is STEAM Learning?

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STEAM holistic learning

STEAM learning is a holistic approach to educating young minds. It stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics. As technology advances, more and more jobs are becoming automated. People now view the arts and creativity as skills that are valuable.

Children are now encouraged to embrace their creativity and to think outside the box. This allows them to look at matters from different perspectives and think critically.

STEAM sets out to help your child develop skills that will increase their social competence. The model will:

1.       Expose them to creative process

2.       Offer meaningful collaborations

3.       Increase critical thinking

4.       Facilitate creative problem-serving

5.       Provide hands-on experience

These skills will help your child grow into the best versions of themselves and become well-rounded individuals.

Check out this blog post for more details.

What is Pretend Play and Why is it so Important?

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Benefits of Pretend Play

Pretend play is a great tool for young children to learn valuable life-skills while exploring their imagination. Both pretend and physical play work together to train and develop your child’s fine motor skills.

Pretend play has many benefits including:

  1. Enhanced language development
  2. Creativity
  3. Social skill development
  4. Planning and organisation
  5. Independence
  6. Social norms

You should encourage your child to engage in pretend play as it facilitates the development of skills required in every aspect of their life!

You can find out more about pretend play and its importance here.

How Physically Active should Your Child be?

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Physical Play

Regular physical activity is recommended for both adults and children to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This is especially important for young children between the age of 0 – 5, as the first 5 years are the most crucial for growth and development. Starting physical activity young can build a good habit that will follow them as they grow older.

The ACT Health Department recommends:

  1. Babies (1 year and under)

Babies should be actively engaged multiple times a day. Infants who are not yet mobile can play on their tummy for at least half an hour throughout the day.

  1. Toddlers (1 – 2 years)

Toddlers have high levels of energy that you might find challenging to keep up with. The health department recommends at least 3 hours of active play throughout the day.

  1. Pre-schoolers (3 – 5 years)

Pre-schoolers should have at least an hour of physical activity a day. It is recommended to start introducing aerobic and strength-building exercises during this stage.

Physical activity should be paired with sufficient good quality sleep. Your child needs adequate rest to repair their bodies and retain the skills they learned while engaging in physical activity.

Read the full blog post here.