26 surreylive.news NEWS & MAIL WEDNESDAY, JULY 8, 2020 FAMILY HEALTH 5 simple and fun ways to boost baby’s brain ASK Looking at your child and making facial expressions will enhance a loving and trusting relationship THE EXPERT HOW CAN I MAKE MY CHILD STARTING NURSERY AS EASY AS POSSIBLE FOR BOTH OF US? Q MY one-year-old son will soon start nursery for the first time. I’m nervous about it, both because of the coronavirus risk and because it’s the first time I’ll have left him. Have you any tips to make it as easy as possible? YOU DON’T NEED COMPLEX TASKS TO HELP YOUR LITTLE ONES EXPAND A ANTHONY IOANNOU, owner of Abacus Ark (abacusark. com) nurseries in London, says: LISA SALMON THEIR MINDS. FINDS OUT MORE ABOUT THE NSPCC’S LOOK, SAY, SING, PLAY CAMPAIGN “In a post-covid world it’s unlikely you’ll be allowed to be in the room when your child settles. Trust the staff and more importantly, trust your child to begin to form attachments to people outside your immediate family. “The presence of a parent can often prolong a child’s time to settle. Allowing a parent in the room can often be more for the parent’s benefit than the child. “Trust your judgment on the nursery you’ve selected and allow staff to do their job. “If you’re concerned about your child contracting coronavirus in the nursery, look at how it’s reducing the risk. “Ask for the nursery’s covid-19 policies and procedures, and ask yourself whether this aligns to the level of risk you’re willing to accept. “Visit the setting – even if your little one isn’t shy, they may find it scary at first being around new people in a new place. “It’s a good idea to visit the nursery first and practise the journey to and from. Try and do this when the other children are arriving or being picked up so your child can see the happy faces. “Read stories about starting nursery – there are many books that cover this topic, written to tackle the challenges both you and your child may be faced with. “Have a good chat with nursery staff prior to your child’s start date so they understand a bit more about your child’s needs, likes and dislikes, what foods they enjoy, nap times, anything that frightens them and how far through potty training they might be. The more information you give them, the better time your child will have. “Be strong when you say goodbye, and explain you’ll be back to pick them up later. Try not to be drawn back by tears, which usually dry up once you leave! “Remember, children pick up on your cues, so keep smiling (even if your heart is breaking) and don’t hang around once you’ve said goodbye. You’ll both soon get very used to the new routine.” L OOKING after a baby can be exhausting and even nerve-racking at times – but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Many parents wonder if they’re doing everything they can to boost their baby’s brain power and development, often not knowing where to begin after being swamped with advice from books and online. Yet the reality is pretty simple, says the NSPCC (nspcc.org.uk), which is aiming to highlight the brain-building benefits that everyday moments such as singing and playing can have on babies and young children through tips in its Look, Say, Sing, Play campaign. “We developed it for parents to use to help with their child’s development, after research found two-thirds of parents and expectant parents didn’t understand the brain-building benefits of two-way interaction,” explains Helen Westerman, NSPCC head of local campaigns. She says all the tips are designed to be fun and focus around household items, aiming to help parents build their baby’s brain by getting them to recognise sounds, facial expressions, colours and repeating actions and words. “The tips will also help parents strengthen the bond with their baby,” she says. “For example, looking at your child and making facial expressions will also enhance a loving and trusting relationship. “After using the Look, Say, Sing, Play tips for a period of time, parents may see their child can now do activities such as singing or clapping more independently.” She adds: “They may be helpful for parents who have found the lockdown challenging as Have fun at bath time strengthens their memory. They’re also practising thinking flexibly about opposites, as well as learning new words and what they mean in a fun way. Peekaboo, above, can be played in many ways they’ve not been able to take their children to soft play centres and baby groups like they normally would.” To get weekly tips, parents can sign up to an email on the NSPCC website (nspcc.org.uk/keepingchildren-safe/support-for-parents/ look-say-sing-play). Each one includes a fun, age-appropriate tip which parents can easily fit in to their daily routine. Some of the tips include... 4 BIG HUG, LITTLE HUG WHEN it’s time for a hug, ask your child if they want a big hug or a little hug and then do what they ask. Then you take a turn and say whether you want a big or little hug. You can add other words, like a wiggly hug or a quiet hug. Anthony Ioannou Brain building information: ■ The sense of touch is calming and comforting to your child. These hugs make your relationship stronger, and allow you to share new words and concepts with them, like big and little. on their own and praise how hard they’re working. 1 EXERCISE BUDDY INVITE your child to help you exercise. Hold them while you do sit-ups, first fast and then slow. Talk about your speed with them. Do leg lifts and raise your leg above their head then back to the ground, talking about their size as you do. Brain building information: This activity helps support your child in coming up with ways to manage their feelings. You’re helping them learn to use self-control in a hard moment. This ability is essential for learning, making friends, and problem solving. ■ 5 PEEKABOO MANY WAYS HOW many ways can you play peekaboo? You can hide your eyes behind your hand, or use a hat, a napkin, or whatever is handy and then say ‘Peekaboo!’. Help your child take a turn. What can they hide behind? Saying ‘I see you!’ when one of you stops hiding should make you both laugh. Brain building information: ■ 3 Exercise and other physical play deepens your relationship with your child, building the trust and love between you. Your loving relationship is fuel for their brain. SILLY SUDS GET silly while getting clean! Tell your child you’re going to wash their hands, but start washing their feet. Then say: ‘Oh! Those are your feet! Where are your hands?’. As they get older, have them lead, using other parts of their body like elbows, wrists, and ankles. 2 DO IT YOURSELF DRESS UP Brain building information: ■ ASK your child to make choices about what they want to wear. Give options like ‘Do you want to wear the white socks or the black socks?’. Be silly and ask ‘Will you wear them on your head? No!’. Encourage them to try getting dressed This back-and-forth game builds the connection between you and your child. As they watch your face and movements, your child is learning to trust that things (and people) go away and come back. This is an important part of building relationships and becoming independent. Mix things up when hugging your kids Brain building information: ■ Your child is using their focus to listen to your words and drawing on what they already know to play this silly game with you, which Helen Westerman PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTED BY PRESSREADER PressReader.com +1 604 278 4604 . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY ORIGINAL COPY COPYRIGHT AND PROTECTED BY APPLICABLE LAW
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