Working parents are often concerned about the development of their children. You may be familiar with the nagging feeling that maybe you are missing out on something somewhere, even though you are trying your best to provide your child with everything. Do not worry; you are not alone. And, most likely, you are not missing out on anything. Just the fact that you are here in this article, shows that you put in serious effort in bringing up your child.
The mental stimulation of children is essential for brain development. The earlier you start with the mental stimulation, the better it is for them. You can enhance your child’s problem-solving abilities, linguistic skills, memory, and retrieval by providing adequate mental stimulation. Here are a few tips to keep your child mentally stimulated as a working parent:
Select the right toys
You need to select toys that are age appropriate in terms of structure and mental stimulation. This ensures that your child is still learning while playing, even if you aren’t around or even when you cannot play with him/her yourself.
Instead of buying toys that are priced exorbitantly just because they are trending, purchase toys that provide a challenge for your child. In doing so, have reasonable expectations of your child but also do not underestimate their abilities. You will be surprised by what a child even younger than a year can achieve.
Of course, you won’t be able to choose all the toys for your children. As your child grows, he/she might want to make the selection for himself/herself. At times they may get attracted to some toy and insist on buying it. You can come up with ways to use that toy in mentally stimulating play. Your child loves the toy and will therefore be more enthusiastic about the activity.
Line up mentally stimulating activities
If you have a babysitter or a professional childcare provider looking after your child while you are busy with work, you can still select the activities that the child can indulge in during that time. You can prepare a lineup of mentally stimulating activities to ensure that your child is still getting the mental stimulation that he/she requires. If the caregiver is a trained professional, they might be able to offer you advice on the best activities for your child’s age.
Even if it is your own parents or siblings taking care of your child in your absence, they should be able to follow your carefully crafted list. If you have allowed some screen time during this period, there are mentally stimulating activities that your child can do online depending on their age. For instance, there are free jigsaw puzzles available online. Children who solve jigsaw puzzles are known to have improved visual-spatial reasoning skills. Their short-term memory is also better. Such activities are easy and enjoyable for the children and they also make it so much easier for the caregiver.
Reading and retelling:
Select and purchase age-appropriate books for your child. You could save some to read with and to them when you are free. You could also have the caregiver read to them. Or, you could leverage technology and use an app like Audible (the kids’ section); you could download the books that you think are suitable for the kids and let them play those. They can even listen while they are playing.
Reading should be something that they do for at least a little time every day. It works wonders for their mental health. It can change their mood and help them relax. When your child is older, you could get them connected to a library.
You could ask your child to retell the stories that they have heard or read; this recollection and reframing will help in their cognitive development.
Encourage their creativity
Wherever your child is showing creativity, like making something out of playdough, or drawing a picture, make sure to encourage all those activities. Support his/her creativity by buying the supplies they require. Let them spend time honing their creative side.
You could also provide them with a challenge to bring out their creativity. For instance, give your child a plastic bottle and some art supplies, and ask them to turn it into something decorative or useful. Ask them to find a solution to creatively use all of those socks of which they have lost a pair. Challenge their creativity, and you will be surprised by the results.
Let them learn a new language or skill
There are multiple benefits of learning more than one language for children. It improves their concentration, hones their memory and critical thinking skills, and makes them better at problem-solving. This is all in addition to the known advantage of mastering another language. You could appoint a tutor for your child or enrol them in classes online. There are even apps that facilitate the learning of a new language with many fun activities.
Helping children to pick up a new skill is also a great way to mentally stimulate them. Let them do gardening, or enrol them in a pottery class. Children can pick up so many skills which serve the higher purpose of improved cognitive development.
With a little pre-planning and some effort for arrangement, you can keep your child mentally stimulated. This is your way of remaining connected and aiding their all-around development even while you are away working for their future.