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7 Activities to Improve your Child’s Development

7 Activities to Improve your Child’s Development

We all love to watch our children develop and grow. We love teaching them, playing with them, and simply observing how innocent minds process information. However, every parent wants to make sure that their children develop at a normal pace, so we do minor checkups concerning their intelligence, speaking skills, motor skills, etc. Since a child can’t tell if something isn’t right, parents are constantly on the lookout and they want to make sure that they have a healthy and intelligent kid.

Of course, there are various types of intelligence — linguistic, kinaesthetic, logical, spatial, musical, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. These types of intelligence are in a state of equilibrium, so when someone lacks something, they usually makes up for in other aspects. So, you can have an eloquent kid who has an incredible singing talent, but who has difficulties with calculating.

However, this doesn’t mean that your kid is doomed to be a bad mathematician; it only means that math will require more hard work, and the same goes for any other skill your child naturally lacks. So, here are a few activities that will help your kid develop properly and that are really fun at the same time.

1. Lego blocks

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    Lego blocks have been around for generations, and children of all ages love to play with them. However, Legos are so much more than a mere toy, they can help develop some useful skills. For example, Lego blocks come with instructions, so kids can practice how to read and how to follow instructions.

    Another benefit is calculation, since you need a particular number of pieces to build something, therefore math is involved to some degree as well. Also, Legos are very good for promoting creativity and spatial intelligence. If possible, get your kids hooked on playing with Lego blocks!

    2. Minecraft

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      Minecraft is like a more complex and advanced version of Legos. It’s one of the most popular video games and people of all ages are very enthusiastic about it. In Minecraft, you can build, create, re-shape, and disassemble things. But, you also need to find resources, gather materials, and strategize how to increase your base.

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      Much like playing with Legos, Minecraft promotes the development of the same skills but on a more advanced level. Also, your kid is likely to continue playing the game as they grow older, exploring various other features the game has to offer. Minecraft can even help your kid master coding, which is an incredibly useful skill to have in the 21st century.

      3. Treasure Hunting

      This is a really fun parent-child activity, and it can also benefit your child to a great extent. Of course, it may take a lot of time for you to set it up, but the end result is certainly worth it. Basically, you buy something for your kid and hide it. In order for the object to be found, the child must solve a series of puzzles and riddles.

      Clearly, this is an activity that is a bit more advanced, but it incites critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Alternatively, you can play scavenger hunts if your child is a bit younger. You can do this at the supermarket or at home, and it is also really simple. Tell your kid to find all the objects that are round-shaped or that are purple in color, but make sure you provide an example of the item he or she should be looking for.

      Once you see everything your child has brought, you can see whether he or she recognizes shapes and objects regularly, and test his or her color perception.

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      4. Puzzles

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        Puzzles are awesome; all you need to remember is to gradually increase their difficulty. A kid can probably do any small box with 50-70 puzzle pieces on their own, but with larger ones, it’s good to help or to get a pair of children to work together. Puzzles are great for pattern and shape recognition, memory boosting, and for teaching collaboration. Additionally, you will end up with a beautiful picture that you can frame and hang on the wall afterwards.

        5. Coloring books

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          Coloring books are another plaything that kids love and that help their growth. They are great, especially for kids who can’t read yet. Coloring books help children develop their artistic side, and they also help them develop some useful motor skills that will come in handy when children are learning to write, because coloring books require a firm hand grip and precision. Moreover, coloring books are really soothing and relaxing, so it’s a good idea to allow your child to relax with one after a stressful activity.

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          6. Playing with marbles

          Marbles are like a miniature version of a pool table, since a child needs precision and visualization in order to be successful at it. It’s a bit of an old-fashioned game, but people who were kids during the 80s and 90s are very familiar with the concept. You need to launch a small marble from your hand and hit the other marble strong enough to expel it from the circle.

          7. Reading and singing

          It’s good to have some books for kids that you can read with your children and teach them how to read as well. It’s a skill they will definitely need, and you can start as soon as they are 4 years old. The problem is that not all kids find reading interesting, but with a colorful book, it might just work. You can also make some flashcards with pictures before you move on to the texts. You can also teach your kids some songs and invite them to sing together. This way, you test memory, acoustic intelligence, and word recognition.

          Remember, the most important skills are also known as the four C’s of the 21st century: creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. All of the activities mentioned here will influence those skills, so try to implement them during your child’s development.

          Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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          Djordje Todorovic

          Blogger, Gamer Extraordinaire

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          Last Updated on August 22, 2019

          14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

          14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

          According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 27% of children under the age of 18 are living with a single parent.[1] That’s over 1/4th of the U.S. population.There is a common misconception that children who grow up in single parent homes are not as successful as children living in two-parent homes.

          One crucial detail that was often left out of studies when comparing single and two-parent homes was the stability of the household. There is a correlation between family structure and family stability, but this study shows that children who grow up in stable single-parent homes do as well as those in married households in terms of academic abilities and behavior.

          But providing stability is easier said than done. With only one adult to act as a parent, some tasks are inherently more challenging. However, there are a few helpful things you can do to make the parenting journey a little easier for yourself and stay sane while doing it.

          1. Don’t Neglect Self-Care

          Before anything else can be done, you must be caring for your own needs adequately. Only when you are feeling well-rested and healthy can you be at your best for your children.

          Many parents tend to put their kids’ needs first and their owns last, but that will result in a never-ending cycle of exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy. Make time to eat regularly and healthfully, get plenty of rest, and squeeze in exercise whenever you can. Even a short walk around the neighborhood will help your body get much-needed movement and fresh air.

          Your children depend on you, and it’s up to you to make sure that you are well-equipped and ready to take on that responsibility.

          2. Join Forces with Other Single Parents

          At times, it may seem like you’re the only person who knows what it’s like to be a single parent. However, the statistics say that there are many others who know exactly what you’re going through.

          Find single parents locally, through your kid’s school, extracurricular activities, or even an app. There are also numerous online communities that can offer support and advice, through Facebook or sites like Single Mom Nation.

          Although single moms make up the majority of single parents, there are more than 2.6 million single dads in the U.S. A great way to connect is through Meetup. Other single parents will more than happy to arrange babysitting swaps, playdates, and carpools.

          Join forces in order to form mutually beneficial relationships.

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          3. Build a Community

          In addition to finding support with other single parents, also build a community comprised of families of all different types. Rather than focus solely on the single parent aspect of your identity, look for parents and kids who share other things in common.

          Join a playgroup, get plugged in at a church, or get to know the parents of the kids involved in the same extracurricular activities. Having a community of a variety of people and families will bring diversity and excitement into your and your kids’ lives.

          4. Accept Help

          Don’t try to be a superhero and do it all yourself. There are probably people in your life who care about you and your kids and want to help you. Let them know what types of things would be most appreciated, whether it’s bringing meals once a week, helping with rides to school, or giving you time to yourself.

          There is no shame in asking for help and accepting assistance from loved ones. You will not be perceived as weak or incompetent. You are being a good parent by being resourceful and allowing others to give you a much-needed break.

          5. Get Creative with Childcare

          Raising a child on a single income is a challenge, with the high cost of daycares, nannies, and other conventional childcare services. More affordable options are possible if you go a less traditional route.

          If you have space and live in a college town, offer a college student housing in exchange for regular childcare. Or swap kids with other single parents so that your kids have friends to play with while the parents get time to themselves.

          When I was younger, my parents had a group of five family friends, and all of the children would rotate to a different house each day of the week, during the summer months. The kids would have a great time playing with each other, and the parents’ job becomes a lot easier. That’s what you would call a win-win situation.

          6. Plan Ahead for Emergencies

          As a single parent, a backup plan or two is a must in emergency situations. Make a list of people you know you can call in a moment’s notice. There will be times in which you need help, and it’s important to know ahead of time who you can rely on.

          Look into whether or not your area offers emergency babysitting services or a drop-in daycare. Knowing who will be able to care for your child in the event of an emergency can relieve one potential source of anxiety in stressful situations.

          7. Create a Routine

          Routines are crucial for young children because knowing what to expect gives them a semblance of control. This is even more important when in a single parent home.

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          If the child travels between homes or has multiple caretakers, life can seem extremely chaotic and unpredictable. Establish a routine and schedule for your child as much as possible. This can include bedtime, before/after school, chores, meal times, and even a weekend routine.

          Having a routine does not mean things cannot change. It is merely a default schedule to fall back on when no additional events or activities are going on. When your children know what to expect, they will be less resistant because they know what to expect, and days will run much more smoothly.

          8. Be Consistent with Rules and Discipline

          If your child has multiple caretakers, such as another parent, grandparent, or babysitter, communicate clearly on how discipline will be handled. Talk to your ex, if you are sharing custody, as well as any other caretakers about the rules and the agreed-upon approach to discipline.

          When a child realizes that certain rules can be bent with certain people, he/she will use it to their advantage, causing additional issues with limits, behavior, and discipline down the road.

          This article may help you to discipline your child better:

          How to Discipline a Child (The Complete Guide for Different Ages)

          9. Stay Positive

          Everyone has heard the saying, “Mind over matter.” But there really is so much power behind your mentality. It can change your perspective and make a difficult situation so much better.

          Your kids will be able to detect even the smallest shift in your attitude. When the responsibilities of motherhood are overwhelming, stay focused on the positive things in your life, such as your friends and family. This will produce a much more stable home environment.

          Maintain your sense of humor and don’t be afraid to be silly. Look towards the future and the great things that are still to come for you and your family. Rediscover and redefine your family values.

          10. Move Past the Guilt

          In a single parent home, it is impossible to act as both parents, regardless of how hard you try. Let go of the things that you cannot do as a single parent, and instead, think of the great things you ARE able to provide for your children.

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          Leave behind the notion that life would be easier or better with two parents. This is simply not true. There is a multitude of pros and cons to all family dynamics, and the one you are providing for your kids now is the one that they need.

          Don’t get bogged down by guilt or regret. Take control of your life and be the best parent you can by being present and engaged with them on a daily basis.

          11. Answer Questions Honestly

          Your kids may have questions about why their home situation is different from many of their friends. When asked, don’t sugarcoat the situation or give them an answer that is not accurate.

          Depending on their age, take this opportunity to explain the truth of what happened and how the current circumstances came about. Not all families have two parents, whether that is due to divorce, death, or whatever else life brings.

          Don’t give more detail than necessary or talk badly about the other parent. But strive to be truthful and honest. Your children will benefit more from your candor than a made-up story.

          12. Treat Kids Like Kids

          In the absence of a partner, it can be tempting to rely on your children for comfort, companionship, or sympathy. But your kids are not equipped to play this role for you.

          There are many details within an adult relationship that children are not able to understand or process, and it will only cause confusion and resentment.

          Do not take out your anger on your kids. Separate your emotional needs from your role as a mother. If you find yourself depending on your kids too much, look for adult friends or family members that you can talk to about your issues.

          13. Find Role Models

          Find positive role models of the opposite sex for your child. It’s crucial that your child does not form negative associations with an entire gender of people.

          Find close friends or family members that would be willing to spend one-on-one time with your kids. Encourage them to form meaningful relationships with people that you trust and that they can look up to.

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          Role models can make a huge difference in the path that a child decides to take, so be intentional about the ones that you put in your kids’ lives.

          14. Be Affectionate and Give Praise

          Your children need your affection and praise on a daily basis. Engage with your kids as often as possible by playing with them, going on outings, and encouraging open dialogue.

          Affirm them in the things that they are doing well, no matter how small. Praise their efforts, rather than their achievements. This will inspire them to continue to put forth hard work and not give up when success is not achieved.

          Rather than spending money on gifts, spend time and effort in making lasting memories.

          Final Thoughts

          Being a single parent is a challenging responsibility to take on. Without the help of a partner to fall back on, single parents have a lot more to take on.

          However, studies show that growing up in a single parent home does not have a negative effect on achievement in school. As long as the family is a stable and safe environment, kids are able to excel and do well in life.

          Use these tips in order to be a reliable and capable parent for your kids, while maintaining your own well-being and sanity.

          More Resources About Parenting

          Featured photo credit: Eye for Ebony via unsplash.com

          Reference

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