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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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          Published on September 21, 2018

          11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

          11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

          Becoming a mother is one of the most difficult challenges a woman can take on in her life. Whether this happens the “natural” way, with the help of science, or through adoption, being in charge of nurturing another human being is a herculean task to take on.

          Typically, when we think about parenthood, we imagine two parents sharing the responsibility and having each other to lean on. However, according to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau, 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 are being raised by a single mother.[1] This is a significant portion of the population that often gets overlooked.

          If you are one of these mothers raising your children on your own, you are undoubtedly aware of the additional challenges that motherhood has placed upon you, including the constant struggle to find sufficient time, energy, money, and support.

          For single mothers who find themselves bogged down by their daily responsibilities and struggle to stay afloat, don’t be fooled by the belief that you have to do all. It is possible to thrive and live as a single mother if you take advantage of all available resources and adjust your priorities based on your situation.

          1. Find your community and ask for help

          As the sole caretaker of your kids, going through the successes and struggles of parenthood can feel isolating and lonely. You have probably developed a strong sense of independence because you’ve had to go at it alone.

          Being self-reliant is necessary in many situations that you have to face, but do not fool yourself into thinking that you don’t need support from others. If you have family nearby, strengthen your relationship with them by visiting and talking more often. Find time to catch up with old friends or co-workers, and don’t assume they don’t want to hang out if they are not parents themselves.

          Would you prefer finding mom friends[2] who have more in common with you? Use resources like apps, Facebook groups, and community events to meet local moms in your area.

          After you have established a support group that you can depend on, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is NOT a sign of weakness or incompetency to admit you can’t do it all, and others are probably more willing to lend a hand than you think.

          If you feel uncomfortable burdening others, suggest trading favors such as taking turns babysitting. Because after all, helping is each other is what community is all about.

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          2. Make peace with the past

          Before you can move forward, you must make peace with your past and not let it define you or rule your life. Whether your journey to single motherhood was through divorce, death, or never having a relationship the father, it is crucial that you leave behind the feelings of abandonment or betrayal you may be struggling with.

          You cannot change the past and the hurt you had to endure, but you can use the strength that you gained from overcoming those obstacles to work towards making the best life for yourself and your child. Learn from the past but live in the present and look towards the future.

          3. Make plans and set goals

          The daily repetition of trying to balance work and home life can make you feel like you are on operating on autopilot. However, it is imperative to set goals for yourself and to keep working towards self-improvement.

          In your personal life, you can set a fitness goal (train for a 5k), a reading goal (read 20 books in a year), or a travel goal (take a trip to Europe). At your job, you can set career goals such as gain leadership experience, get a promotion, or earn a degree or certificate.

          Spend time creating a realistic plan to on how you can go about achieving these goals. Not only will working towards these goals make you a more well-rounded and successful person, they will bring more purpose and fulfillment to your life.

          4. Look for role models

          A great way to jump start your plans for the future is to find a role model or mentor who is further along in their life or career experience. This person can be a great resource when you need guidance on what types of goals to set for yourself and how to achieve them.

          It’s also important to have people to turn to for encouragement during difficult seasons of life. Someone who has been through it before can provide the most genuine reassurance that tough times will get better and that staying positive is best approach.

          5. Rethink your priorities

          Single parents have twice as many responsibilities to take care of, so priorities and expectations must be adjusted accordingly.

          Know that you are not superwoman and striving for a perfectly clean home, no dirty laundry, and home-cooked meals for your kids every day is not a reasonable expectation. It’s okay to take shortcuts sometimes, like serving your kids cereal for dinner or waiting until the next day to wash the dishes.

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          Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and let go of the guilt that you feel for being the only parent that your kids can count on. Give yourself a break and don’t sweat the small stuff.

          6. Make time for me time

          Even though it can be difficult to find, making time for yourself is critical to maintaining your sanity and well-being. Without a built-in partner to take over, finding time to be away from the kids must be done intentionally and planned in advance.

          If you are sharing custody, use the time away from your kids not only doing productive things but also making sure you are taking care of yourself. Sleep, exercise, and balanced diet are not things that can get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. Also make time for fun activities, such as hobbies and creative outlets.

          Even though being a mother is the most important job you have, don’t let it be the only thing that defines you. Time for yourself is more difficult to find if you are the sole caretaker of your kids.

          Use the resources that you have to devote time to self-care, and you and your kids will thank you for it in the long run.

          7. Stay organized

          With so many things to juggle, great organizational skills are an absolute must in order to keep everything moving smoothly. Use apps such as Mint for your finances, Mealime for meal planning, and Cozi as a family organizer for everything from appointments and shopping lists to after school activities.

          Maintain constant contact if you are sharing custody so that it is clearly communicated who will be responsible for what when it comes to your kids. Follow consistent routines in the morning and nighttime so that your kids also know what to expect on a daily basis.

          8. Be flexible (Don’t be a control freak)

          Although it is important to be prepared and stay organized, things don’t always go according to plan.

          When kids get sick and have to stay home or babysitters cancel at the last minute, allow for flexibility by having a contingency plan for childcare and with your employer.

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          For example, make a list of people you can call when you need last minute childcare, or talk to your boss in advance about working from home when emergencies come up.

          Most of all, don’t let unexpected changes stress you out and ruin your day.

          9. Learn to say no (Don’t feel guilty)

          Single mothers have limitations in time, energy and resources that families with two parents wouldn’t be able to understand. Because of these circumstances, it’s important you let go of feelings of guilt and stop trying to do everything and be everywhere.

          You don’t have to say yes to every single birthday party your child is invited to. Your kids don’t have to be involved in sports and extracurricular activities every night of the week.

          Limit the things you do to only the ones that are the most enjoyable and meaningful for you and your family. Doing more things does not make you a better mother; simply a more tired one.

          10. Live within your means

          When you have to raise your family on a single income, budgeting and spending within your means becomes more important than ever.

          If you have outstanding debt that is accruing interest, make it a priority to pay those off as soon as possible. Outlining a budget is the best way to visualize how much money is being spent every month on various things and what is left over.

          Find ways to save money on the necessities by looking for sales at the grocery store, buying some things secondhand, planning out meals.

          After the necessary bills are paid, determine how much can be spent on luxury items such as eating out, vacations, and going to the movies.

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          Don’t let finances be a source of anxiety for you and your family. Keep your bank account in good shape while teaching your kids how to spend money responsibly at the same time.

          11. Spend quality time with your kids

          The time you spend with your kids is so precious and much more limited as a single mother. Make the time that you spend with your kids count.

          Rather than sitting in front of the TV, take them on fun and budget-friendly outings to the park, the playground, or a museum. Use meal times as the perfect excuse to ask them about what they are learning in school and the friends they spend time with.

          When your kids ask you to play with them, look at it as a privilege and an opportunity to bond with them, rather than a distraction or waste of time. Be present when you are with them, with no work or multitasking on your mind. Your relationship with your kids will absolutely reap the benefits.

          Final thoughts

          Being a single mother is not an easy job. That’s why it’s important to use all the resources available to you in order to make this job a little bit easier.

          Using technology, an organization system and a supportive community are just a few examples of things you should utilize to your benefit. It’s also important to shift your mindset and be more practical when it comes to things like priorities and finances.

          Most of all, don’t forget about your own self care. Only when you take care of yourself can you best take care of the people you love.

          Single mothers are some of the most hard-working people out there, and you deserve to have a happy and fulfilling life.

          Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

          Reference

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