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Fun-damentals For Learning: Choosing The Right Activity For Your Child

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Besides giving YOU some “free” time, getting your child involved in suitable activities can also be beneficial for your baby. From challenging you child physically and emotionally to getting him or her socialized, exposing your child to more than just the fun and frivolity you can provide is good for the both of you. The key however, is making the right decision at the right time, and that means discovering what your child is good at as well as determining if he or she is ready.

Dance Class:

· Before signing your child up for a class or two, introduce him or her to dance concepts, sometimes referred to as “creative movement” at the age of 2 or 3. If your child show interest and/or ability think about starting professional instruction at the age of 4 or 5.

· Keep in mind that activities such as skipping, jumping, twirling, and dancing can help in academic achievement in areas such as reading and math, because the former also require counting (steps, pattern, and rhythms) in a progressive sequence.

· Note if your child tends to be inherently active as opposed to inclined to sitting and playing quietly in the sandbox. If so, dance may be for her or him. Also if your child seems to show signs of language delays, dance may be the perfect outlet, allowing him or her to express himself/herself physically rather than verbally.

Theatre and Drama:

· Begin activities enhancing creativity and imagination at age 3 or 4 and think about enrollment in classes by age 6.

· Note that theatrical instruction helps children with writing, storytelling and independent thinking. Kids also learn how to cooperate, and work as part of a group, while also dealing with getting rid of any social anxiety or inhibitions. Plus, they learn about self-control, following directions and listening.

· Drama is the perfect activity for children who like to be the center of attention and/or for those who tend toward shyness of have difficulty expressing their emotions.

Music:

· An ear and appreciation for music can begin as early as 6 months old. And, you can begin musical instruction as early as age 4. By the way music and dance usually go hand in hand.

· In addition to having a calming effect on some, music is also a great way to help with brain development because it bolsters understanding of language and vocabulary as well as that of patterns, rhythms, and sequences, which strengthen memory and math skills.

· Experts assert that music is an ideal activity for all kids but may be especially beneficial for those with language delays because it tends to stimulate different parts of the brain, other than those required for speaking (which is why people who stutter can sing without issue)

Swimming:

· Children usually begin splashing around and kicking in the water at around 6 months, so you can look into instruction at around age 3.

· Swimming, according to experts, is excellent for building coordination as well as boosting confidence, and because kids understand that’s its an important life skill, the also gain a sense of accomplishment when they master the skill.

· Experts suggest that swimming is an ideal exercise for both the body and mind as well as a basic survival skill and ideal for all children.

Sports:

· You can start exposing children to sports, at least in concept by tossing a ball back and forth by the age of 2 or 3 and engaging them in activities such as striking a ball off a tee around the age of 4 or 5; and T-ball games between the ages of 4 and 7. However, you should hold off on my competitive sports until the age of 8.

· Sorts, according to experts are a great way to boost your child’s brain development and functioning. It’s also a great way to ensure your little one gets exercise which also prepares the brain for learning by bolstering circulation and increasing the flow of oxygen.

· Sports are especially ideal for active and energetic children as well as for those who may exhibit tendencies to be socially withdrawn, since these group activities mandate interaction and team cooperation. Just make sure the sport or activity is age appropriate. Prior to age 8, children are typically not prepared for the “stress” of competition and may see something like failing to make a goal or striking out as a personal failure. So, start them off slowly and work their way up.


Art and Artistic Expression:

· Children can show their proclivity toward artistic expression as early as ages 1 though 3 beginning with coloring and finger painting. You can begin classes at age 4.

· Experts assert that children who take part in art programs show great improvement in literacy and critical-thinking skills. It also helps with reading, writing and storytelling, serving as the building blocks of literacy through interpretation and pictures.

· Much like music experts note that art is a great outlet and activity for most, if not all children. But, they add that children who are good at sitting still or who show a preference for doodling or marking up almost anything in the house, may take it further. Plus, painting and drawing is an excellent outlet for children who need to work on their motor skills and those that exhibit developmental delays.

Sticktoitiveness:

Finally you’ll have to decide if the activity you’ve chosen is paying off and if not, why not. Talk with your child about the situation but wait until the atmosphere is not so emotionally charges, and try to uncover the underlying problem. But, if the problem is causing your child too much stress or discomfort, you may want to give your kid a break, try something different or new, or wait until some other time, may a time your child approaches you.


Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Fun-damentals For Learning: Choosing The Right Activity For Your Child

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