Engaging in play with your baby is one of the best things that can be done to help create and foster early childhood milestones as well as, develop interest, passions and develop a healthy balance of movement appreciation. Tummy time play should start as early as when baby comes home from the hospital. With the back to sleep recommendations, tummy time is incredibly important and should start out with a few minutes and slowly work up to an hour per day. In addition, play is an exceptional tool to use to help babies and children learn and prepare for life experiences.
Organized play and early childhood movement programs such as preschool dance, ninja and gymnastics have a number of benefits for your child that will help them build life skills. Problem solving, interacting with others and negotiating, learning to follow instructions, processing emotions, learning to be flexible and adaptable in different situations, willingness to take risks and try new things and developing creativity and imagination are all things that are developed during play.
Organized play, early childhood movement activities and tummy time are essential for the healthy development of your child. Here are some tips to help make the most out of your child's participation in these types of activities and programs:
1. Allow your child to make mistakes. So often we want to do things for them when they struggle or do things incorrectly, however, allowing your child to reason out their mistake and try again until they succeed helps to give them the confidence they need to face new things as they grow. It helps them to develop a healthy belief in their ability to accomplish new things.
2. Give your child options about activities. Children at an early age need options to find out things they may like and dislike. Just because it was your sport doesn't mean your child will like it. Be sure to allow them to try many different activities early on so they can find one or two that they are passionate about and avoid projecting your likes and dislikes on to them.
3. Offer challenges if your child gets bored. Many times when a child gets bored with a sport or activity it is the result of being under stimulated and they simply need to be challenged. If your child is struggling with boredom, be sure to offer them ways to challenge themselves in their activity so that they are having fun.
4. Allow your child to have fun and use their imagination. Remember, the benefits of activity and early childhood movement programs are far greater than just winning a game or a competition, so be sure to encourage them to enjoy the journey of learning and playing and not just focus on winning. Allow them to use their imagination during play and foster their creativity during their open play at home, as well as when they are playing with their friends. This will encourage them to develop a strong sense of belief in themselves to build and be an innovator later in life.
As early as birth a child will use play to discover the world around them and develop important life skills and taking time to encourage and join them on their journey of discovery is a huge part of the fun for them and us so how about it? Let's go out and play!