IT’S HOLIDAY TIME – WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR LITTLE ONES!

Many parents face the school holidays with a feeling of alarm and wonder how they’re going to get through the holidays without the support of a helper, a childminder or the creche or pre-school to keep children occupied! However, with a change of attitude and approach, holidays can be a wonderful time of building a powerful, happy, loving relationship with your little one and having a whole lot of fun besides!

If we remember that early childhood, from the moment of conception is THE most important period of brain development in a person’s lifetime, then we’ll see the holidays as a time of huge opportunity to build our little one’s brains AND strengthen a loving relationship AND have fun. Young children are learning ALL the time, wherever they are and whoever they’re with. Young children learn best through play, but they also learn from everything that takes place in their day and in their environment. Special learning times include new experiences and language during outings to the shops, the beach, in the neighbourhood, on a walk, chatting and sharing family time and activities. And then of course there’s story time and that can be through books or through ‘made-up’ stories and can take place anywhere, anytime, but especially ‘cuddle time’ just before bed. Your little ones will blossom in the dedicated time and attention given to them by the caring adults (and older children) in their lives.

Spend holiday time playing and having fun with your little one, including your tiny baby. Even household chores can become a fun activity with a little imagination – count potatoes; lay the table; sort the washing – all these activities develop maths skills – and little ones love to feel they’re helping Mum! Enter your child’s world and see things through her eyes as she sees things new in her life or overcomes a challenge. Let your little one dictate the activities she enjoys, even if it means watching patiently as he perfects his skills at climbing a bank or stairs. Enter into imaginary play with your toddler or young child as they play house, feeding the baby, going to the doctor or shop. Play ball, chat to her as she climbs trees or build a sandcastle with him at the beach. Open your ears and your eyes and really observe your child. You will be amazed to see how quickly she is learning new words, understanding so much more and solving problems. And the more you notice and acknowledge your little one, the more his or her confidence and self-belief will grow.

But remember, your little one’s behaviour is still unpredictable and they don’t understand consequences, so they need to be under the care and supervision of a responsible adult at all times. Accidents happen SO quickly and often with tragic consequences.

So enjoy this holiday season of family togetherness, love and playtime. Families that play together stay together!

LOVE, PLAY TALK

Learn more about what you can do to change your child’s future by listening weekly to LOVE, PLAY TALK, the radio programme on Nkomazi FM aired EVERY Thursday from 11 to 11.30am and brought to you by Ilifa Labantwana and RCL FOODS. Each week Nkomazi FM hosts a guest speaker to deal with a different topic to support you, the parent of a young child, give your child the best start in life. The LOVE, PLAY, TALK radio programme is part of the RCL FOODS sponsored LEAVE NO YOUNG CHILD BEHIND early childhood development initiative in Nkomazi Wards 16 and 19 that aims to ensure every young child in these wards has access to improved quality of essential services so that they get the very best start in life. And you, the parent, have a critically important role to play!

Get more information from the Nkomazi FM website www.nkomazifm.co.za or the Ilifa Labantwana website www.ilifalabantwana.co.za. Do listen every week and give your little one the best start in life!

PAM PICKEN
EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST

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