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‘90% of your child’s brain is developed during first 6 years’; this phrase started showing its impact on me as soon as I conceived. And since then I boarded on the journey of constructive parenting by reading various articles related to pregnancy and parenting. In most of the articles, the experts guided parents to keep feeding stimulating information into their children’s minds throughout their growing years. During those times, I learnt about Garbh Sanskar (education in the womb). Hence, I started practising techniques for stimulating my child’s brain right from the time she was in my womb.
According to Garbh Sanskar, baby is able to sense and respond to outside influences like music and other sounds. The baby can also sense mother’s thoughts and feelings. Hence, it becomes vital to be happy and positive during pregnancy for an expectant mother. Me and my husband joined Garbh Sanskar classes to learn more about the techniques. Practising Pre-natal Yoga, Pranayam helped me in staying healthy and positive. Listening to soothing music, reading stories to my unborn, communicating with her about outside world and various sounds helped in stimulating my child’s brain right from the womb. My husband too contributed in all these activities. We continued to read stories, sing rhymes to her after the birth also.
All through her preschool years, we introduced variety of bed time stories that included fairy tales; moral stories; stories which teaches about manners to kids. But anxious mother in me doubted about the things which a young mind can learn and remember at the same time. All my doubts disappeared when her preschool teacher advised me to give her more to learn to keep her brain occupied. She made me aware that young children are very good in learning numerous things with much ease. A young mind can essentially store loads of data. Sometimes I really wondered at my daughter’s ability to remember various stories, rhymes, Bollywood songs, cartoon characters, alphabets, and numbers all at the same time.
Through my motherhood journey, I realised till 4 years of age, children learn from observing and listening to others. But after that they learn by imagining and experimenting. After my daughter turned four, she started asking questions like do angels or Santa Clause exist in real life? Can she do magic like fairy? She tried to experiment with her play magic wand to see if some magic really happens.
To unravel her imagination further, we made her familiar with few games. The below games are suited for children of any age group:
1) Pretend Play Toys: We got pretend play toys for her so that she can learn from role play. She enjoyed playing with her Disney princesses while acting like one herself. She loved pretending to be a doctor with her doctor play set and a teacher to Peppa Pig characters with her Peppa Pig School Play Set. Role play toys helped her enact her favorite characters at the same time she learnt to make imaginary stories. We are happy to see our inquisitive child transforming into a wonderful story teller.
2) Pictionary game: It’s a guessing word game. In this game team members have to identify specific word from their other teammates’ drawings. This game is fun for any kid as they get to express their imagination through drawings. My child loved this game as much as she loved her drawing. This game helped her in gathering her jumbled thoughts and conveying them to others effectively.
3) Crafting Games: Crafting games such as Greeting Card maker, Jewellery maker helped us to see creative side of my child. These crafting games aided her in realising importance of special occasions and special people in her life. She enjoyed making card/jewellery for her friends, teachers and family members. I can never forget the joy on my parents’ faces after she gifted them a hand-made greeting card.
4) Jig-Saw Puzzles: Player have to make a complete picture from various interlocking pieces to solve a jigsaw puzzle. This game presents many benefits in development of children. It helped my child in developing physical skills by holding puzzle pieces and turning them until they fit. It helped in developing cognitive skills when she solved the puzzles completely. It also helped her in learning patience to achieve her goal.
5) Picture Story Books: When you tell your child a story using picture book, you can be sure of making greater impact on your child’s brain. During early childhood, the brain buzzes with extra neurological connections that are trying to establish patterns, cause and effect, and sequences. Picture books, with their verbal and visual nature, offer this to a child’s growing mind. Picture books helped us in instilling fondness for reading in my kiddo. Her attention span also increased. And the most important thing, she could narrate the same stories to us later by looking at various pictures on each page without knowing to read.
6) Word games/Scrabble: It’s an interesting way to teach spelling to your children. It also helps in increasing their vocabulary. I started with online three letter word games with phonetics for my daughter. It helped her in relating alphabets with their sound and learning spellings.
It’s true that 90% of brain develops in first 6 years, but that doesn’t mean we should stop using techniques to develop their brain beyond 6 years. Learning should be continuous process for kids as well as parents.
During their preschool years, kids think that their parents have answers to all their queries. But in their growing years, when they learn from other sources they start doubting their parent’s intelligence. The learning journey which starts at ‘Mamma, how do you know everything?’ slowly progresses to ‘Mamma, you don’t know anything’. And then role reversal comes into the picture. When my kid said this to me, I actually reversed the table and asked her to teach us what she learnt. This benefited her in expressing her thoughts in more appropriate way. Lately she enjoyed creating stories with her role play toys and narrating them. From then on, we started looking for opportunities to explore her potential.
We got one such opportunity when her dentist asked us to replace her kiddie toothpaste with adult toothpaste. Changing her favorite flavored toothpaste with adult toothpaste was relatively difficult. For us, Colgate has been synonymous with strong teeth. So when we came across the new Colgate Strong teeth pack which comes with cut-outs of Magical Space Adventure, we knew we had winner in our hand. We brought the same and gave it to her to play and explore the pack. She was excited to see the cut-outs of astronaut, aliens, spaceship, UFO. The below video helped us to encourage her to tell a story:
By looking at the fascinating packaging, she readily agreed to use the new toothpaste. We asked her to make a story from these cut-outs. She made a fascinating story with the help of Magical Space Adventure pack. She actually built a whole new city on the planet and narrated her story:
Alien Sammy landed on a new planet in his UFO. At the same time astronaut Nammy from earth also landed there in his spaceship. They both became friends and built a city on the new planet called Buddies. They built and put various stuffs in the city such as:
Later, Doraemon and his friends landed on the planet Buddies with the help of spaceship. They all wore spacesuits. They met Nammy and became friends. There they played hide and seek with the astronaut Nammy. Nobita hid inside the Rover and while trying to drive the Rover, he got hurt. So Nammy took him to alien Sammy who happened to be doctor also. Sammy treated Nobita and they all became friends. Then Doraemon family returned to earth with astronaut Nammy and alien Sammy stayed there to take care of the planet.
Quite an interesting story, isn’t it! Now we get to hear new space adventure story everyday. Kids are great story tellers, we just need to unlock their potential with right ways. Moms, what are you waiting for then – unravel your child’s imagination and please share their stories in comments.