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Mar 6, 2014

Healthy Living looks at boosting your infant’s alertness and development

Last week, to kick off Child Stimulation Month, Civic Education Coordinator at the Department of Human Services, Diana Pook, explained why stimulation is important at an early stage of a child’s life. In this week’s Healthy Living, she outlines a few easy games you and your infant can do at home. While easy and very familiar, these inexpensive ideas are sure to boost your infant’s alertness and development.

 

Diana Pook, Civic Education Coordinator, Dept. of Human Services.

“Play is important; play is the work of a child.”

 

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

And play is exactly what your young child needs to develop and take on the world. Diana explains that the simplest interaction with your child can have a great impact on their development.

 

Diana Pook

Diana Pook

“If you talk to your child that builds language skills; if you sing to your child—you notice sometimes the child dances to the music—that builds his motor skills, his body movement, his physical skills and it also builds language skills as well. Playing with your child, or have another child play with your child builds social development…understanding that you need to take turns, that you need to follow rules; it also builds the language development by having you or the babysitter explaining to the child what he or she is doing. Oh you picked up the pen…they understand that that is a pen and I am picking up a pen. It also builds on the other skills that they have: their gross motor skills, their fine motor skills. So everything that the child does builds on the skills that they has.”

 

Some games can even be made at home and specialized for your own family.

 

Diana Pook

“If you want to the inexpensive things because I know toys are very expensive especially those that say they learn the most from. So what you can do, do some simple things. You can do a picture book…take all of those photos that you have of your family and relatives and the child himself. And you can take Ziploc bags if you want it to last longer and put each picture in, sew the top side of the Ziploc bag together, put a bit of masking tape or duck tape so that the sewing doesn’t show and the child can easily turn those pages and look at different pictures and you can explain to the child who are the people in the pictures. That’s one thing that you can do with the child. And show them who is your child, this is Mary…you are Mary; so that the child can understand who am I. You can also…through that activity, the child also learns about turning pages so he improves his little fine motor skills.”

 

Believe it or not: even Peek-a-boo is valuable interaction with your young child.

 

Diana Pook

“Play peekaboo which is very easy…you don’t need nothing for that. And with babies, you don’t even have to use a sheet or whatever; you can just cover your face and peekaboo. What the child learns through that: object permanence. Something might be here, might be gone, but it comes back. At first the child might think it disappeared, but you say peekaboo, oh it is back. Yes, so they learn all of that through play.”

 

What’s important is that parents understand that interacting with babies and infants go a long way in their overall development. Parents must never underestimate the value of spending time talking & playing with their children.

 

Diana Pook

“If you do the proper stimulation with your child, the child will be able to grasp things better, be much more ready for school…and not only school, but that social being a part of the community. That child will be much more socially involved, will be able to communicate better with his peers and when he gets older, when he gets in his teens, he will be able to deal with issues and problems that come up even better. Also that bond between parent and child is very important because that will last a lifetime.”

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