A child’s brain is like a very active sponge and this constant process of developing and adapting is something we need take advantage of in the best way possible. It’s imperative that we find new and interesting activities or techniques to stimulate our child’s mind. This will ensure that their brains are kept healthy whilst allowing them to tap into their inner creativity and imagination to help them excel later on in life.
1. Encourage exploration and play
A child needs to be allowed to explore the world and engage in the beauty of discovery, investigation and experimentation. Whether it’s running around the garden or playing fun activities, building a sand castle or swimming in the ocean, these activities allow your child to think and discover new ideas and places all the while stimulating their senses.
2. Board games and puzzles
Board games and puzzles are not only educational, but also an ideal way to stimulate a child’s imagination. It allows your child to think and identify new ways and methods, solve problems and develop fine motor skills. The great part about these kinds of activities is that children have so much fun and at the same time they are learning in a completely effortless way.
3. Take your child on day trips
Turn your child into a culture geek and they will be forever grateful. Weekly excursions to a museum, art gallery or aquarium are extremely informative and mentally stimulating. These places contain so much movement, history, colour and mystery, which is so exciting for a child while keeping them alert and wanting more.
4. Healthy food means a healthy brain
As much as your child may fight you for presenting them with funny looking veggies for dinner, it’s important for you include healthy foods in their diet. The vitamins and nutrients found in vegetables play a vital role in the healthy development of a child’s brain and body. Try incorporate nutritious foods into your child’s diet from day one and this will set a good foundation for the rest of their lives.
5. Incorporate omega 3 supplements into your child’s diet
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 essential fatty acid from fish that is required for optimal health but cannot be produced by the body. DHA, therefore, must be obtained through diet or supplements. DHA helps support brain and visual development and function, especially during prenatal development, in growing babies and in children.
6. Exercise and hobbies
There is an abundance of research on the relation between exercise and healthy cognitive functioning in children. Whether your child plays soccer, goes swimming or even has piano classes, involvement in some kind of extra-curricular activity after school is something that will enhance memory, concentration, behaviour and academic achievement.
7. Teach your child another language.
It has been said that bilingual children are smarter than those who speak just one language, because speaking two requires using different parts of the brain. If you don’t know another language this is actually a fantastic opportunity for you to learn one together, even just a little. It can enhance general communication skills, as well as help your child see the world from a new perspective.
Everyone has different parenting skills, but this should never mean that all discipline goes out the window. Setting limits is actually a way of teaching and when your child has done something that you disapprove of, it’s important to tell them why it was wrong, but in a positive way. In doing so, you stimulate their sense of boundaries and control, which is a necessary tool for guidance later on in life.
9. Read and sing to your child
Singing and reading to your child allows for them to participate in something engaging, fun and stimulating while developing their brain at the same time. While singing entertains your child and enhances their linguistic skills, reading improves their attention span and sets them up for academic achievement later on in life.
10. Socialise your child
Make an effort and take every opportunity within your community to include your child in birthday parties and after school play dates because social skills are of valuable importance at every stage of life. Spending time with other children will teach your child about forming friendships, other personality-types and ultimately, empathy and compassion for people.