Did you know that the cognitive development of your little one begins in the womb? Did you also know that your attitude and the things you do around your munchkin will affect how they grow? The way they eat, sleep, and learn, as well as their surroundings (whether positive or negative) all impact the results of their cognitive development.
Offering healthy foods over chips and candy, along with promoting a normal sleep pattern and a fun and positive learning atmosphere are all requirements for healthy brain development. Even the little things help in the cognitive growth process – things you might not normally think about.
Here’s a list of ten positive actions you can take, starting today, to stay connected with your child while positively influencing their development:
#1: The Glass is Half Full Effect
Look at the glass as being half full instead of half empty because your attitude will trickle down to your little munchkin; if you’re negative they will be too, and vice versa. Stay positive, but don’t overdo it with the bubbly attitude or they might not take you seriously.
#2: Keep Communicating
Communication is important because your little one relies on you. Think about it; you’re their first friend, first teacher, and the first person they trust. They want to share things with you throughout the day. So maybe you’re tired of listening to your son tell the same Big Bird story repeatedly, but to him, it’s just as important as the first time he told it to you.
All throughout your munchkin’s life, they will rely on you to listen to them, and they want you to engage in conversation with them. Get into the habit of having family dinner nights where everyone can sit around the table and talk. Put the phones away and give each other eye contact. Okay, so it sounds a little like Leave it to Beaver, but it works!
#3: Goof it Up
Nothing will excite your kiddo more than when they see you being goofy. Plan some time to be silly with them. Make chores fun by creating a game or goofing off. Not sure how? It’s easy:
- After dinner, wash the dishes together. Get into a minor water fight by spraying them with the sprayer or bop their nose with soap bubbles.
- Enlist their help to make the bed, but before you finish, pile them with blankets or get into a pillow fight.
These little things will not only be a great time for you to bond, but your child will learn to appreciate doing their chores.
#4: Date Night
If you have lots of little munchkins, then date night is perfect for individual one-on-one time with each of them.
Once a week, each one can have a chance to pick a fun place to go and a tasty place to eat. This is the time to share some of that communication we were talking about; you can even get goofy and laugh together. Make it a positive and fun experience that they will always remember.
#5: Homework Time
Sit down and enjoy homework time; it’s a great chance to interact. Talk about the homework. If your daughter is too smart for math help, then ask her to show you what she’s doing. Act like you don’t understand so she can feel important when she thinks she’s teaching you. Little will she know that she’s learning as she “teaches” you math.
#6: Puzzle Time
Why not sit down and put a puzzle together with your little one? The time you spend with them completing this task will not only be fun, but it will also promote critical thinking. Spread the puzzle out on the table, get some juice boxes, and enjoy some good old fashioned puzzle time.
#7: Imagination, Imagination, Imagination
At least once in your childhood you probably built a blanket fort, played with a dollhouse, or built something with blocks. Anything’s possible through imagination and that is just what your little dudes and dudettes are waiting to do. Show them some love with a couple of chairs and blankets; pull out some dolls and blocks and show them what their imagination can do!
#8: Books, Books, and More Books
Put aside time every day to read a good book with your munchkins. Interact as you read, let them point out some fun pictures and characters in the book. Allow the older munchkins to read some of the pages, too. This is a good time to incorporate some of that goofy time; throw in some tummy tickles and giggle with them. You’ll be surprised at how much they will beg for more books and less video game time.
#9: That’s My Baby!
Here’s your chance to take a bow and be proud of your baby. Sporting events, school award ceremonies, and talent contests are special times that you can show your support and shout with pride. Don’t let them fool you when they say you don’t have to be there because to them it means the world to have you in their cheer squad. These are all important milestones in your little one’s life, and when you’re there showing your support, it shows them how much you love them.
#10: Fun with Chores
We already talked about how much fun it can be to wash the dishes or make the bed, but what about everyday chores? Interact with your munchkins as they tackle their everyday chores. While they are picking up their dirty clothes, hold the hamper up so they can play basketball with the clothes. Sing a song with them while they clean their gooey toothpaste off the sink, or put some imagination into the vacuum when it becomes a car they will love to drive through their room.
Remember, No Pressure!
In the end, it’s all about your positive influence when it comes to your munchkin’s brain development. Their little personalities will be unique, but their values, ethics, decision-making skills, and sense of responsibility will be greatly molded by you. So take an active role, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box!