10 DecWeekly Note: Massage & Touch

Infant massage is sometimes referred to as intentional touch. It is touching that is purely for the sake of touching – not to change a diaper, feed or clothe a baby. – but simply to effect pleasure.

What Does Massage do for Your Baby?

Gentle touch improves the function of all the sustaining systems of baby: respiratory, circulatory, digestive, eliminative, nervous and endocrine. Touch changes behavior patterns, reducing fear and excitement thresholds and increasing gentleness, calmness and friendliness. Massage naturally includes the key components for forming healthy attachments: eye contact, skin contact, vocalization, and communication.

Articles

This article is short and is packed with tons of reasons to massage and hold your baby. It is a really great article and I very much encourage you to take the time to read it. Click HERE.

This article is also very good and has information on how brain development is fostered by touch. Click HERE.

Touch allows us to connect without fear.

10 DecWeekly Note: Repetition

Why so much Repetition?

Children seem to innately know that they require repetition in order to learn. One or two exposures for an adult may allow you to assimilate new material, but for a very young child, it takes many, many times before the brain connections that allow the child to understand or enjoy the activity are formed and in place for future use.

Repetition & Brain Development 101

Learning requires electrical energy to create neural pathways. The less “automatic” something is, the more electrical energy is required. The more well-traveled a pathway, the less energy is required. When you are first learning to knit, it takes all of your effort. As it becomes automatic, you use less brain energy and are able to watch your favorite TV show while knitting Susie a pair of mittens.

In Control

Patterns make children happy. Knowing what to expect and having things happen in that way not only helps children know what to expect and feel at ease. (They are actually little control freaks!) When the environment and routine is predictable, then a child feels safe and learning can naturally happen.

I know it can seem like we’ve done some activities over and over, but if you ask your child, s/he will say, “Let’s do it again!”

19 NovWeekly Note: Play!

Play is a child’s work.  You’ve probably heard this said too.

Funny Story

I can remember back several year ago a family I had in class at the time.  When they first came to Kindermusik classes, they had one child – Dad brought the little boy.  Then they had a second child – Dad brought both children to their respective classes.  Finally, they had a third child and Dad brought all three children to their classes.  I very rarely saw Mom, but one time I did see her, she commented that she had her husband bring their children so he would learn to play with them.  “He will learn to play with our children here.”  She was a stay at home Mom and spent much of the day playing with her three children.  She obviously felt that Dad needed to be exposed to play!  In all seriousness though, she did understand much of what Kindermusik is about.  Sure, there are tons of developmental reasons to have your child attend an early childhood music program, but, play is at the top of the list.

Great Website

This is a great article on play, so I am going to stop here and let you go to the article and read about the importance of play.  The great thing about this article, is that it not only tells you about how play benefits your child, it tells you how play benefits you, the parent.

Click HERE to go to the article.

 The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect, but by the play instinct.”  Carl Jung

19 NovWeekly Note: Dancing & Movement

Why is this important to your baby?

Musical Benefits

Babies learn intuitively about phrasing and form through organized dancing to music.  Phrasing, form and meter can all be learned through dancing.  A little one learns about the emotional content of music through moving with the parent.  If the music is fast and joyful or slow and melancholy, the child is cued into those emotions by the way the parent moves hers’ and the baby’s bodies.

Movement & Critical Thinking

Multi directional movement during this period of brain development is extremely important in developing critical thinking skills.   In previous generations, infants were placed in a wrap, (a popular brand now is the Moby wrap) close to the mother’s body almost immediately after birth until walking age.  Any time the mother moved, the baby benefited from that movement – if Mom bent over or turned in a circle then the baby experienced the same movement.

So often today, babies spend a large majority of their time in carriers and experience little or no multi-directional movement.  Movement is the key to brain development.  If the brain is allowed to see the word from a multitude of perspectives, then the brain develops an abundance of perspectives.  This translates to an abundance of solutions for solving problems.  In a carrier, the view as well as movement is very limited.  If the brain is only allowed to see the narrow perspective that is limited to the view of a carrier, then the brain perceives these as the only choices.  On the other hand, if the brain is given 360 degrees of perspective, it learns to see there are unlimited choices, i.e., unlimited solutions.  Movement provides babies’ the opportunity to see the world in a variety of perspectives.

“Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music.”  George Carlin

19 NovWeekly Note: Inhibitory Control

Inhibitory control is something we actually practice quite often in class.

What is Inhibitory Control?

Inhibitory control is the ability to stop one’s own behavior at the appropriate time. For very young children, brain development occurs through the vehicle of the body.  So, in class, we play with the idea of stopping the body on cue when we are singing songs such as “Lukey’s Boat” from the beginning of the semester, and now, “Jig Jog” (I want someone to buy me a pony).  In these songs we are playing with the child’s ability to stop their body on cue.  Eventually, this skill will develop into the ability to stop actions and thoughts that are inappropriate or undesirable and finally, the ability to control impulsive behavior.

Executive Function

Inhibitory control falls under the umbrella of executive functions.  Executive functions direct or manage all cognitive skills.  Skills that fall under this umbrella include problem solving, planning, organizing, reasoning and focus among others.

These 2 articles give some excellent information on inhibitory control and executive function and why they are so important.   For starters, good executive function is a better predictor of success in school than is a child’s IQ!

Click HERE for ideas (I will say that most of the ideas are little beyond this age group – more for the 4 year old and older, but still some great information) and HERE for some really great information on what executive function is and its importance.

The most creative artist living today is the young child at play.