You are at work and everything runs at its usual pace. Suddenly, the phone rings and you hear a familiar voice. Your kindergarten teacher has just told you that your little one is sick and needs to get home ASAP. So it’s more than just a runny nose after all...
Whether it is you, an uncle, a neighbour, or the oldest sibling who will stay with the little patient at home, one thing is guaranteed: the phase ‘I’m not sick anymore!’ and ‘I want to go out and play!’ will sooner or later come. The energetic scales are turning. You, a loving and patient caretaker, are tiring out, but it’s only you who understands that staying in bed or at least in a calm position is absolutely necessary. What do you do?
You know if your kids like books, colouring, picture games, dolls or building blocks. You also know their favourite meals, toy magazine or DVDs, and it’s a great strategic point to start from but even the time-proven recipes lose their charm after a few days of repetition. The air thickens and it’s time to open the windows wide and try something new.
Get inspired by the seasons, your home environment, daily duties, or your kids’ current interests and prepare a thematic activity box. It can be done together or as a surprise, and you can have something to look forward to. For example, do you have to deal with heaps of work emails? Set up a real office for your child as well. Put a notebook, discarded paper documents, writing instruments, an old mobile phone, or a computer keyboard. Let your child use piled business cards, calculators, envelopes, sticky notes or magnetic letters to organise their own working area. Speak about what you worked on, once the work is done. Change or replace few objects the next day or fill the box with new content when it loses its shine. What about a doctor unit, autumn gifts or a dinosaur expedition?
You can hardly stand that short YouTube video being played for the fifteenth time, and have doubts whether that game they play over and over again is not just mindless fun. But why continue to use technology in a limited way when there’s so much more on offer? Try some learning apps where your child takes care of a sick friend or a pet, or gets ready for the next doctor's appointment. Children can also design a simple environment such as playground or bedroom in suitable apps.
Make the most of the basic technological functions: call Grandma or other relatives, or check out the local train station or animals at the ZOO through the web or Google Earth. Record a short video of your everyday life with a camera, or make even create your own ebook together. If endless reading has your throat sore, try interactive storybooks with a read aloud feature.
You can connect a new app or minigame you’ve downloaded for your kids with a thematic box or other activities. For example, observing raindrops can be merged with a relaxation app that provides a calming environment of colours and sounds. Or, if you want something a bit more active, make a sensory bottle with sand, glitter, or seashells. An app located in outer space can turn into the creation of a space-themed decoration, or baking cookies can go hand-in-hand with a food preparation simulation game, and your kid’s favourite video about pirates can end up by constructing a treasure cave in the corner of the room. Digital games can easily lead to real life adventures if you take a little time to plan it.
Growing up to be a well-developed and emotionally strong adult, who isn’t afraid to face challenges in life, has its roots back to childhood. A study revealed that about 10–20% of children and adolescents throughout the world experience mental disorders. The survey found that in children aged 7–14 years, mental disorders are one of the main causes of diseases. Another research carried out by Marie-Laure Baranne and Bruno Falissard at INSERM in France found out that during 2000–2015, the rates of mental disorders remained stable, suggesting that despite a global improvement in the physical health, the mental health of kids was not improving.
So you’ve successfully signed your child up for preschool. The summer holiday has passed by and now you have that slight tingling in your stomach. That first day at school is probably one the most important moments in your and your child's life, and it might not be easy–both for the child and for the parent. It's one of those moments when you realise just how quickly time goes by. How could something that was a cute tiny baby just seconds ago grow up so fast? And all of the sudden they don't need your 24/7 attention?! How can you prepare for this bittersweet moment without any unnecessary tears and stress?
Summertime seems like the perfect time to forget about learning and just enjoy the nice weather. And yet I’m writing this article about research on the how the human brain connects to learning. According to recent studies, we learn the best when learning is connected to emotion and when it makes sense to us. And in summer we do lots of things that make us happy and make sense to us, don’t we? So let’s use that to our advantage!