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Parents are the first and best teachers of their children

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Parents are the first and best teachers of their childrenParents are the best role models for children because they play with them and show them how the world works.  The child’s world is very tiny at first.  They cry and their parents figure out what is wrong and they fix it.  This makes the baby secure and he learns faster.  Parents make sure their child develops healthy habits, so for the sake of good health, exercises are important ways to get a child’s brain to grow as well as his body. Coordination exercises, infant massage, full range of motion play activities exercises are good for babies, as long as he does the moving with help from parents. 

Can you believe that aerobic conditioning, flexibility and strength training are very pleasurable types of play? Moms and Dads who start exercising and massaging get to know their baby better and earlier and can avoid having children who do not cuddle and show their feelings and thoughts. By handling them as much as possible, parents can find out how their child thinks.  At the same time, they are helping keep the family happy and content.

Food and warmth and sleep make infants and children think more clearly.  Changes in light and temperature and air feel good; they produce pleasurable secure feelings. Choose activities because of the child’s interests and personality.  You can tell right away what temperament a child possesses.  Very active babies and children need movement, while laid back children need more reflection and time to observe and relax, but either way, do the play activities together. 

Here are more songs and games that exercise mental as well as physical muscles.  First alternate slow and fast actions sing songs like:  “Row, row, and row your boat gently down the stream merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.” Collect some household objects to use as toys that make sounds that vary in tone and pitch that go up and down such as:  “Put your hands up high; put your hands down low, up, down, high, and low.” 

All young children are concrete thinkers and are literal-minded.  That means they learn to understand that objects move, occupy space, and do not disappear when the location of objects changes. This sense of permanency is one way parents learn to believe that children are true thinkers. Developmental specialists tell us that children think faster when they have better balance and posture and nutrition.  The positive lasting affects of physical and mental stimulation in the early years can be seen in the social lives of children. 

Healthy children develop social skills, attachment to others and a sense of belonging.  See children sitting at the table doing intellectual activities, just the way the children who are singing and doing the songs and games where also engaged in learning intellectual skills?   Children use their eyes and hands to perform manipulative skills; they sort, categorize objects, and place similar objects together.   Infants and toddlers match similar objects together and then later learn to discriminate among different concepts of objects.   So for now these toddlers are learning to sort by color, size, and shape.  

How is this thinking?  They are learning to take pictures, mental images and pictures of objects in their world and will use those creative mental pictures to solve problems and find solutions to situations that come up every day.  To stimulate problem-solving very early in life, all you have to do is play!  Play a game with a child and ask: “Do you want do to do that again?”  Then wait, do nothing until the child answers.  When he responds with a sound or a word or a gesture, quickly repeat the game.  Repetition is vital to memory and intelligence because it is not imitation and mimicry - it is doing again something that has meaning and purpose.  That is thinking, and even babies do these activities in the early months of life.  Watch Blake’s activity level increase his body language says: “yes, yes does it again” see how eager he is to continue the game. 

Parents need to enjoy play along with their work and busy lives.  Child thought and mental skill-building is built through the interactions that occur when adults take responsibility for being role models.  Remember that the social and language games that you do with infants help the infant to develop positive behaviors.  Research tells us that easy access to home materials is the best way to reinforce good behavior.   So use home made or home available materials with your baby to help your children develop positive behavior.

First, parents need to have basic, not fancy play toys that very in shape and size. Give children boundaries so they can control their own actions as they play in a safe place. Freedom for children of all ages is balanced by constant supervision. Indoors or outdoors, children need permission to get messy.   It’s really ok if young children play in the mud, with sand or water, if it helps them to experience the world through their senses.

Parents can obtain insights into their child’s personality and temperament by taking them to different places.   Even in the supermarket, parents can let children help; cleaning the house should involve children’s participation.  When parents are cooperative and follow family rules, so do children. 

These are thinking skills, so take children with you when you can, and expect it to be a learning experience.  A food market is a good place for parents to give children room to help and learn at the same time.  All of life is a learning experience.  I have given you some ideas, but it’s up to you to decide how you will raise your children.

I am Doctor Susan Turben; take care of yourself and take care of your children.

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