The brain cells of the fetus begin to form at a gestational age of 3-4 months. From the birth of the Little One until they reach 3 years of age, this number increases rapidly to become up to billions of cells. These cells will then continuously develop by forming synapses (connections between brain cells). The more synapses that are formed, the faster and more effective the brain works.
How can more synapses be formed? This can be done by providing adequate and quality stimulations. The stimulations provided should also be in accordance to the age of the Little One.
As the stimulations received become more variable, the relationship between brain cells become more complex. As the stimulations become more frequent and regular, the relationship between brain cells also become stronger. As the relationship between brain cells become more complex and stronger, the intelligence level of the child will be higher and more variable in the future. If this is continuously developed, the child may have many variations of intelligences (multiple intelligences).
Playing is an important activity during childhood. As at that age it is not possible to “study” like an adult, the Little One can learn from play activities. By playing, the Little One receives stimulations that are beneficial for their growth and development. They can recognize movements, sounds, smells, objects, shapes, colours, and touch.
Many studies have proven that children who receive quality stimulations have better motor and cognitive skills, as well as self confidence. They also tend to be more successful in school compared to children who received less stimulation. In fact, children with the same genetic background may show differences in their performance in school if they were raised with different levels of stimulations.
Parents can conduct simple but enjoyable play activities with the Little One. Other than being beneficial for child development, these play activities can also strengthen the bond between parents and their child.
For infants aged 0-6 months, parents can conduct simple play activities such as making sounds (clapping hands or snapping fingers). Parents can also give toys that produce sounds or are colourful for the Little One. A spinning toy that produces music can also be placed above their bed.
Singing while clapping along with making variable facial expressions are enjoyable activities for mothers and the Little One. Parents can also take the Little One to dance by carrying them in their arms and sway to the rhythm of the music.
As the Little One reaches the age of 6-12 months, parents can stimulate their development by playing ‘peek-a-boo’ with them. Taking them to look at themselves in the mirror can also be an alternative, as the Little One is generally starting to become aware of their body, and is interested to look in the mirror and see themselves.
Parents can also get into the habit of reading a bedtime story to the Little One. Select a story book with attractive and colourful pictures to attract the attention of the Little One.
For children aged 1 year and over, parents can encourage them to play with simple building blocks or puzzles. These play activities will help the development of the child by sharpening their thinking and problem solving abilities. Parents can also stimulate the imagination of the Little One with role plays. For instance, playing as seller and buyer, as their favourite cartoon character, and so on.
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