TIPS FOR PARENTS

Early childhood is the most important period of brain development. The child’s development during the first years of life is highly influenced by his/her interaction with the surrounding environment. Adequate stimulation is essential for the child’s development especially during the first three years of life. Parents are the key to early child development. There are simple and effective ways for parents to stimulate their child.

Below are some activities that can be used to stimulate different aspects of the child’s development.

Talk to your child:

  • Use the child’s name when talking to him/her
  • Talk about what you are doing
  • Use lots of facial expressions when you are talking to your child
  • Use gestures when you talk to your child (e.g. point “up”, wave “Hi/Bye”)
  • Talk in simple sentences and use real words avoiding “baby talk”
  • Use new words as child grows such as “on”, “under”, “open”, ”broken”
  • Add words to what your child says (say “big red car” when child say “red car”)

Sing with your Child:

  • Sing songs and recite nursery rhymes together

Read to your child:

  • Use picture books (animals, alphabets) and simple stories
  • Read books together, don’t worry about reading all the words

Listen to your child:

  • Pay attention to what your child is saying
  • If the child does not say a word properly, repeat it the right way without correcting him/her directly
  • Don’t automatically get what your child wants, wait for your child to ask

Draw with your child:

  • Encourage correct grasp pattern
  • Encourage your child to scribble, imitate lines, circles, squares…
  • Name the different shapes drawn

Go outside:

  • Outdoor activities such as going to the park, beach and playgrounds
  • Talk about what you see and hear
  • Let your child play with other children

Play with your child:

  • Play simple games (e.g. peek-a-poo, hide and seek)
  • Pretend play with dolls, puppets
  • Role-play (e.g. dress-ups costumes, housekeeping and cooking equipments, toy telephone/camera, doll house, toy cars/trains)
  • Stimulate problem solving skills: Insert puzzles, , count objects, point to and name body parts on you and your child
  • Stimulate perceptual-fine motor skills using arts and crafts materials g. large crayons with many colors, finger paints, chalkboards with chalk of variable size, scissors with rounded ends, papers and glues, play-dough and threading beads

Remember:

  • Playing is an indirect way of learning
  • Be Creative and imaginative
  • Be Patient
  • Praise your child for his efforts to play and communicate
  • Limit your child screen time ( e.g. TV, computers, video games) to provide your child with more time to read and engage in active play
  • Consider enrolling your child in a preschool as it provides a safe stimulating experience
  • Do not hesitate to contact your pediatrician if you have concerns about the development of your child