Change can be a challenge for a person and means leaving the comfort zone to a greater or lesser degree. The functional changes we are experiencing during the #stayathome campaign are also rearranging the whole family system, in which one element affects several more. Forced quarantine is trying to balance new challenges – but we will try to facilitate this process. Here are activities that will ensure the child’s mental development and will organize parents’ everyday life.
It is not difficult to observe that the forced quarantine changes the daily schedule of both parents and children. The toddler’s brain needs some sort of order and division in the daily schedule to maintain balance and develop properly. As parents, we must also remember that the child’s brain is undergoing constant growth and we should not artificially slow down this pace. At this particular time, we should match this intensity and get involved in the individual elements of these “mental puzzles”.
6 daily activities for a child’s balance
The activities listed below constitute a “healthy mind platter” according to the concept of Dr Daniel Siegel. “Mind Platter” is an essential food for a child, ensuring mental health, mental balance and psychophysical well-being.
In this task, we need to set a goal for the child (or let him define it himself), which he will stick to at each stage of its implementation. When taking on challenges, children learn new things (e.g. cause and effect relationships, developing ambition and coping with failure), and further deep nerve connections form in their brains.
Spontaneous children’s play, i.e. unfettered and conducive to creative activities is a natural path to the correct and dynamic development of the brain. By playing and following instincts and impulses, children meet the need for emotional regulation, unrestrained expression and the ability to create reality according to their own rules. In the latter, the child develops a sense of influence on the world and the environment, which is extremely important.
Contact with other children or people who enjoy children significantly activates and enhances those circuits in their brains that are responsible for building and strengthening relationships in the future. The daily portion of hugs, playing football or reading together saturates the very important need for closeness, belonging and feeling important, which give them strength to take on challenges.
Time in and down time
It is a moment of peace and quiet during the day when the child can focus on what he has inside. It can be a carefree lying on the floor and gazing around the ceiling which children call “boredom”. It can also be telling a parent about events from the whole day before bedtime, or it can be a loose conversation during the afternoon play – however, it is important to encourage our children to “organize” events and emotions in their heads. Such a procedure significantly deepens and trains their self-awareness.
Rest and relaxation play a significant role in the life of every person, including children. It is a time when the brain and body regenerate, and thoughts can roam freely, mix and re-arrange. Deep sleep, in turn, gives relief and allows children to consolidate everything they have learned during the day. It is also a very important time of recovery after the events in which the child took part. We can support the calm sleep of our child and reduce its tensions by using specialized sensory blankets.
In the concept of “mind platter”, it is extremely important to maintain a balance between each of the activities. It is worth remembering that the proportions of the “platter” may be different because the needs of children at specific stages of their development are different.