We Singaporean parents are known to be a competitive bunch. But there’s nothing wrong with that because all we’re trying to do is to nurture the exceptional in our precious little ones. We want to raise happy, healthy and confident individuals who think quick and learn fast – the trailblazers of tomorrow. As parents, we play an important role in this. The home environment that we create lays the foundation for a child’s development. Here’s what our expert, Wendy Tan of Josiah Montessori, has to say!
Wendy Tan is the Founder and Director of Josiah Montessori, a Montessori based preschool running for 24 years and My Learning Haven, a Finnish style play-based centre.
Why is the Home Environment Important for Child Development?
The pandemic has definitely affected children’s developmental growth over the past 2 years. You would observe that some young children may not be so ready to socialise spontaneously with new faces or may not know what to do when brought to the playground. You may find that some are not walking or developing according to their developmental milestones. This is because in a world confined to home, with no obvious demarcation of family time, school time and play time, life becomes unstructured for their children. Learning becomes inconsistent which may result in delay in speech, locomotor and social emotional skills development. In addition, the cautiousness from parents to bring them out may contribute to such developmental delay.
Parents need to realise that learning for young children is not about learning the ABCs and 123s or by offering them an edutainment programme on TV. To set the stage of a successful and healthy learning journey to ensure their development does not fall behind, parents need to spend intentional moments in their daily lives to develop their child holistically in the areas of physical, social, emotional and cognitive development.
How Do I Hone My Child’s IQ?
IQ basically refers to cognitive development and it is an integral part of holistic development that comprises physical, social and emotional development. Active social interactions shape brain development. The more you interact with your child, the more connections are built and the occurrence of such brain connections adds to your child’s IQ. In your interaction with your child, it is important to note that nutrition and routine care play a crucial role in brain development. A healthy, nutritious meal provision and a consistent routine like feeding, sleeping and play time are crucial elements in honing your child’s IQ. Without proper nutrition, your child’s growing body will not receive sufficient vitamins and minerals that aid in his/her brain and physical growth.
With a healthy body, your baby is well enough to have the energy to explore, move about and focus on things that interest him/ her. Getting engaged with their sense of touch, smell, sight, hearing and taste, your child is ready to absorb as much information as possible that adds on to his/her IQ development.
Did you know that good nutrition is the cornerstone to honing your child’s IQ? Your child’s brain needs to be nourished just as much as his or her body does. Some nutrients actually play an important role in your child’s healthy brain development and holistic growth. These include:
- Vitamins A and D
- Vitamins B6 and B123
Eating a healthy and balanced diet with a good mix of meat, wholegrain, fish, fruits and vegetables helps to obtain these nutrients. However, it may be difficult for your child to eat a perfectly balanced diet all the time. That’s why growing up milk is important to complement their nutritional intake.
There’s a wide array of growing up milk available but if you’re looking for something to fuel your exceptional child, you can opt for S-26® Gold Growing Up Milk. It is a milk formula scientifically formulated to support your child’s brain development and holistic growth. Specifically made for toddlers above the age of one, this growing up milk contains essential nutrients to support the brain development of your exceptional child!
It contains Sphingomyelin, DHA and ARA, which are important building blocks for the development of the brain and eyes. In addition, S-26® Gold Growing Up Milk also contains essential nutrients such as Folic Acid and Vitamin A, C, and D to support the normal and healthy functioning of your child’s immune system.
A good immune system means better natural defenses. And that can only mean one thing – fewer sick days and more time to learn and discover the world!
How do I Teach EQ to My Little One?
Many parents wonder when their baby will learn to speak, play and interact with others. This is essentially an EQ development concern. We would like to introduce you to a form of early social and communicative concept called “Serve and Return”. This type of interaction shapes brain development. When your young child babbles, gestures, or cries, and when you respond appropriately with eye contact, words, or a hug, brain synapses take place and neural connections are built and strengthened in the child’s brain that support the development of communication and social skills.
You can liken this concept to a tennis match where it is much like an active back and forth exchange. Your response to your young child’s signals and needs will provide an environment rich in serve and return experiences. For example when your child looks at a specific direction where the doorbell is ringing, you return with a response that value adds to what they are observing and in this case you may say, “who is at the door?”. If the child offers you a toy, return by saying “thank you”. If the child hugs you at your feet, return by picking your child up and say “I love you” – this way you add on to what your child offers you.
Since responsive relationships are both expected and essential for a child’s EQ development, the absence of such interaction with the child may undermine the child’s development and well-being. Healthy brain development depends on a consistent and steady foundation built by appropriate input into a child’s senses and stable, responsive relationships with caring adults. If an adult’s responses to a child are unreliable, inappropriate, or simply absent, the opportunities for the brain synapses connections are disrupted and minimised, and subsequent physical, mental, and emotional health may be impaired.
How To Be A Good Role Model to Your Child?
Parents need to realise that they are their child’s first teacher. Children learn everything by observing adults. Therefore what they do and say plays a crucial role in their child’s development. In today’s modern world, especially post Covid-19, digital parenting becomes a very real, needful and practical approach. It is very common to hear young parents using digital media to monitor baby’s sleep, be a baby-sitter for them and provide edutainment during meal time to coax their child to finish their meal, just because it is a very convenient and efficient approach to keep their children quiet or engaged. While digital media is now a needful part of every modern family, parents need to be aware that over dependency of digital media to babysit their child may strip precious opportunities to inculcate and develop appropriate social and relational behaviour such a table manners, proper communication skills, self-regulations including handling negative emotions.
No matter how much parents struggle in managing their time between work, recreation and child raising, they will need to be aware that 0-6 years old is the golden window period where the most brain synapses are connected. Setting their child onto proper eating habits, consistent routine and a healthy digital diet is crucial for their future learning development.
Parents should strive to find a stance in how they use digital media to run their families, and at the same time do not neglect the normal physical interactions with their young children to prevent dysfunctionality in relationship building. While totally rejecting digital media resources will short change what we can offer to help our child in this evolving modern world, fully immersed with using just digital media to manage children’s learning is also not ideal.
So, mums and dads, now you know that you play a very important role in supporting your child’s development from home. Remember, raising healthy and happy children means nurturing them with love and providing them with the right nutrition to think quick, learn fast and to strive for the best. The sky’s the limit!