In our previous blog post we discussed about benefits of play. Play is a vital part of child development and wellbeing. Like leisure activities and hobbies for adults, play is a way for children to relax and cope with stress. It gives them the opportunity to be creative and test out their problem-solving skills and provides a sense of accomplishment and confidence in their own abilities.
Play can also be beneficial for your own mental health. It is a chance to take a break from the worries of COVID-19 and focus on something that is fun and nurturing for you both. It offers a chance to step into your child’s world and share the wonders of their creativity and imagination. Playing together strengthens the parent-child relationship, which helps build children’s resilience and lays the foundation for mental health throughout their lifetime. While social distancing rules are in place, children are unable to play with their friends in the way that they are used to. This makes play time at home especially important. The following 4 tips can help you use play to support your child’s mental health during COVID-19.
Stay true to yourself
It’s normal to feel stressed, worried or anxious during uncertain times. Remember that this situation is completely new – you might be struggling to make sense of things yourself, whilst also trying to maintain a sense of normality and help your children understand what is happening. It is also normal to find child-led play a bit challenging at first. Parents are used to being in charge, so shifting the power to your child might feel a little odd. Your child’s interests or style of play may also be different to your own ideas and experiences, and you may find yourself wanting to step in and guide your child towards playing in a way that feels more ‘natural’ to you. If you are finding it difficult, speak to your GP or practitioner about strategies you can use to make child-led play easier.
Play should become a routine
Routines are an important source of safety and stability for children. While things are probably different for your family right now, it is especially important to schedule regular times to play together. This doesn’t have to be a large chunk of time – even five minutes of undivided attention 3-4 times a week can make a big difference to your child’s wellbeing. Be clear with your child about when these play times are going to be and let them know that during these designated times, your focus will be entirely on them. You may need to get creative if you are juggling working from home and caring for your children. Mealtimes can even be a good place to schedule some fun activities, creative play or board games. Whatever you decide, setting a clear timeframe for play can be especially useful if you are working from home, because it lets your child know that during the designated play time, they will have your full attention. It can be useful to set up some of your own rituals to avoid being distracted by your phone or other devices during play times. Some parents find turning their devices to silent or off and putting them in another room helps to reduce the temptation to keep checking or responding to notifications.
Give your child an educational toy
Educational toys are designed in a way that they increase the kids’ literacy, hand-eye coordination, memorization, motor skills, and identification skills. Kids who aptly develop these skills are likely to have their IQ increase gradually. Since educational toys are meant to be fun and enjoyable, kids can have enough time for detailed learning and retention of practical skills. They are far better and safer than mobile phones. Scientists have discovered that just 2 minutes of the phone call can alter the electoral activity of the kid’s brain for up to an hour. The radio waves from the mobile penetrate deep into the brain, not just around the ear. The disturbed brain activity could impair children’s learning ability and other behavioral problems. It could even affect their mood and ability to learn in the classroom if they have used the phone during the break time. Children are born with an incredible sense of curiosity. In their efforts to understand the environment around them, kids curiously explore through the surrounding objects. With fun educational toys for kids, there is a safe experience of imaginative play, creative designing and building, experimentation, and exploration. Kids also have a minimal concentration span. They quickly get disengaged and disinterested in things and people too. Without the right tools, they are likely going to lose a lot in their academics and other activities. This is where educational toys come in.
HOW MENTACUBE CAN HELP YOUR CHILD?
At Mentacube we are developing educational toys that will give children an opportunity to learn through play and to improve their cognitive skills. We are currently finishing with our prototypes and are already testing toys with kids. Next year we expect to launch a Kickstarter campaign. In a couple of weeks we will start writing about our products and how can they help your child. Follow our story and be part of Menta community!