17 December 2020

What is free play and why should you encourage it at home?

Playtime is not just about having fun – it’s about learning, too. When your little one is reciting a nursery rhyme, they are working on language development skills. Does your child love to toss a ball up in the air and catch it on the way down? They are building important gross-motor and hand-eye coordination skills. During the COVID-19 pandemic,…, Why is play so beneficial to children?, “Play is at the core of the development of the child,” explains Zaman. Children experience and learn about their world through play: they explore their physical environment, express their emotions and build their vocabulary through playful moments. “Play is very natural for children around the world,” adds Khanom. “It is a really important tool…, What is free play?, Free play is when children have full freedom to play in whatever way they want. “They can choose everything – they have the freedom to select their play materials, interest area and even the plot,” explains Zaman. During free play time, children can express themselves in the way that they choose depending on the day, time and situation they are in…, How is free play beneficial to children?, “Sometimes it’s good for children to play alone or independently because they can be more creative when they are playing by themselves,” says Khanom. When a child is playing alone, they are engaging themselves, using their imagination and “from very early childhood they are being independent,” says Zaman. Building independence at a young age is…, From what age should parents introduce free play to their children?, Free play creates an opportunity for children to explore their world in their own way and helps foster creativity and using their imagination, so Khanom and Zaman recommend starting at an early age. Parents should encourage toddlers and preschoolers to engage in free play on a regular basis, but with continued supervision it can even be introduced…, How can parents encourage free play at home?, Though free play is all about independence, parents can support and encourage their children in having a fun, playful learning experience. Make sure your child has a safe space to play in. When playing freely, children should have the chance to explore and do most things on their own to build confidence and independence. However, it is important…
03 September 2020

How to discipline your child the smart and healthy way

There comes a time when every parent struggles with how best to discipline their child. Whether dealing with a screaming toddler or an angry teen, it can be hard to control your temper. No parent wants to find themselves in such a situation and the bottom line is that shouting and physical violence never help. Thankfully, there are other, more…, Why positive discipline?, “Parents don't want to shout or hit their kids. We do it because we're stressed and don't see another way,” says Professor Cluver. The evidence is clear: shouting and hitting simply do not work and can do more harm than good in the long run. Repeated shouting and hitting can even adversely impact a child’s entire life. The continued “toxic stress…, Engaging with younger children, One-on-one time can be fun – and it’s completely free! “You can copy their expressions, bang spoons against pots, or sing together,” adds Professor Cluver. “There’s amazing research showing that playing with your children boosts their brain development.”, Engaging with older children, Like younger children, teenagers seek praise and want to be thought of as good. One-on-one time is still important to them. “They love it if you dance around the room with them or engage in a conversation about their favourite singer,” says Professor Cluver. “They may not always show it, but they do. And, it's an effective way of building a…, What you can do in stressful situations , Every family goes through stressful times together. Here are some tips that can help parents get through such times: 1. Pause We all know the stress when we feel our child is being difficult. At moments like these, being present and stepping back is a simple and useful tactic. Hit the “pause button”, as Professor Cluver calls it. “Take five deep…
16 June 2020

Playtime, anytime!

In the first 1,000 days of life (first 3 years), your child’s brain develops faster than at any other time. Even more incredible is that before young children can even talk, you can help with that brain building. How? Through serve and return! >>Watch Building babies’ brains through play: Mini Parenting Master Class   With help from our…, What is serve and return?, Serve and return is a series of back and forth interactions between a child and parent or primary caregiver, where an adult responds lovingly and appropriately to a baby or toddler’s noises and gestures. Think of it as a game of ping-pong: it’s all about the back and forth — and having fun! The most important part is showing your child that you…, How do I practice serve and return with my child?, Building your baby’s brain does not need to be complicated and better yet, it can be built into every day routines and moments. Any moment with your baby can turn into a playful opportunity to learn! Here are some easy ways you can start incorporating serve and return into your everyday interactions with your little one.  , The 'name game', Rebeccka and her baby Naybare Sheba (5 months) at the POC (ISIS Point of Care Clinic) Mbarara RRH (Regional Referral Hospital) South Western Uganda. Add some fun to your morning routine! Dressing your child is a great opportunity to help them make important language connections. As you observe their interest in each article of clothing you put on…, Food time fun!, On 23 July, 2019, Joaquín, 2, is offered broccoli by his mother, Rosina, during lunch at their home in a rural area of the department of San José, Uruguay. Explore your kitchen with your child – it’s full of exciting sights, colours, shapes and smells for your baby to explore. Support and encourage your child’s curiosity by paying close attention…, Bath time play, Daw Nyo Nyo Aye bathes her daughter Kyal Zin Naing (10 months) at her home, Lay Bway Chaung Village, Kan Gyi Daunt township, Irrawaddy region, Myanmar. Grab some bath toys or a ball and get ready to play! Let your baby pick the toy that grabs their interest first. Play with them back and forth, and when they're ready to move to the next toy make a…, Point and learn, Zakir smiles as he watches joy on his son's face in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Whether it’s in the car or around the neighbourhood, there are lots of things to see when walking outside. Pay attention to what your baby seems interested in through their gestures, gaze or sounds and point to it while telling your baby what it is: “Oh do you see the bird?…, Food swap, Refugee mother feeding her baby at ADRA community centre in Belgrade, Serbia. When feeding your baby a snack, take turns in who does the feeding. Feed them one piece and let them pick up the next piece themselves. Even if it takes some time, wait for your child to respond. Taking turns helps build their confidence and social skills. This would be…