April 28 , 2022
Did you know?
WHY DOES MY CHILD HAVE A HARD TIME CONCENTRATING?
WHY IS MY CHILD SO CLUMSY?
WHY DOES MY CHILD FIDGET ALL THE TIME?
CEREBELLUM: WHAT IS IT? WHAT DOES IT DO? WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Location: Sits at the base of the brain
Also known as: The “Little Brain”
Sensitive period of development: 0–1 year
Responsible for: Coordination of movement, controlling posture, and finding balance in and out of motion
Did you know that the cerebellum is the part of the brain that helps us with our balance and coordination?While we may think that we only need our balance and coordination for sporting activities, we forget their importance in helping us concentrate and navigate through our daily routines and tasks. When our brain fails to find balance and coordination, we will find it hard to focus and make sound judgement, which triggers our brain and body to try to find ways to regain balance. That is when we may fidget, move around, and even get a little clumsy to find the balance needed to refocus.
The cerebellum is located at the base of the brain and serves as the foundation for which the other areas of the brain are built upon. Without this strong foundation in our brains, areas of the brain responsible for higher-order thinking and executive skills, such as planning, problem-solving, and creativity, will be compromised. By giving the cerebellum the appropriate amount of stimulation during its sensitive period of development, we are building the simple brain connections needed for the more complex connections to be constructed as the brain develops. This fundamental part of the brain, surprisingly, only has a short optimal window of opportunity to reach its potential. The most optimal time for developing this area is from birth to one year, but unfortunately, most parents miss out on this opportunity and neglect to provide beneficial activities to help build and stimulate this area for their children’s future growth.
“It is easier and less costly to form strong brain circuits during the early years than it is to intervene or ‘fix’ them later…More importantly, the connections that form early provide either a strong or weak foundation for the connections that form later.”
Source: Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University
HOW TO HELP CHILDREN DEVELOP THEIR CEREBELLUM: ACTIVITIES & EQUIPMENT
During the first year of our children’s lives, lots of meaningful movement exercises can help them understand what it means to be in and out of balance, and how to move or be stationary within their space. Given a variety of movement experiences when out of balance, our children learn how to shift weight, coordinate their body parts and reposition themselves within the given space to restore stability to their systems. The more of these experiences they have before they turn one year old, the more information their brains can collect and record — thus, building stronger foundational brain connections for more complex connections to come.
Here are some suggested equipment and movements to help children maximize the first crucial growth year of their lives.
Let children experience different kinds of slides. Give them a variety of textures, heights and curvatures to feel their bodies travelling at different speeds.
Propel forward and back,sway side to side and rotate both directions to allow children to experience different movements, learning how to strengthen their core muscles and lean their upper and lower bodies to maintain balanced.
03 Trampoline/Lycra Bed
Bouncing up and down and tossing around can help children understand vertical movements while stabilizing their joints and toning their muscles.
04 Scooter Board
Spin and let children travel in various directions. While learning how to balance, children can also build muscles in their neck, core and back.
05 Wedges & Mats
Let children tumble and roll. Whether it is forward, backward or on their sides, allow children to experience their worlds upside down and right side up while increasing body and spatial awareness.
If you don’t have any of these equipment at home but would like to make sure you are providing the stimulation input for your young child, try dancing with them! Turn on some music, carry your child, and wiggle, sway, spin, and bounce with them! Not only is this great for brain development, but you are also bonding with your child while you are holding them close to you
September 08 , 2013
Did you know?
“KindyROO is where parents gain knowledge about important milestones that children need to reach” – Marianne Schriever, Neurophysiological Development Specialist
Building the Learning Blocks for Life
We were fortunate enough to catch up with Marianne Schriever, Neurophysiological Development Specialist and ambassador for KindyROO (also known as GymbaROO). Given her extensive experience of travelling abroad and talking to parents and teachers about KindyROO, we chat about the most common questions parents ask about the programme.
In just under 5 minutes, Marianne covers:
- What is the KindyROO programme all about?
- How is KindyROO different to a playgroup?
- What is the recommended age to start KindyROO classes?
- What does a normal KindyROO class look like?
- What does KindyROO ultimately do for my child?
Watch the video with Marianne here.
For more information about KindyROO including programme descriptions for 6 weeks – 3 years, sample class rundown and KindyROO class schedule, visit our KindyROO@SPRING page.
May 28 , 2013
Did you know?
“Emotion coaching helps children regulate
their emotions and develop the ability to soothe themselves.”
– Winnie Keung, Psy.D., M.A., B.S.S.
The Why’s and Wherefores of Emotion Coaching
Now that we’re in an era where people put a lot of emphasis on grades and test scores, it has become more important to try our very best to help nurture and teach our children how to become emotionally intelligent individuals. Emotion coaching is all about helping your child learn about feelings, relationships, social behavior and the world around him/her. Emotion coaching helps children regulate their emotions and develop the ability to soothe themselves.
Children who are able to balance their positive and negative emotions well are rated by teachers to be more friendly and assertive and less aggressive and sad. Such children are also able to respond more pro-socially to peers’ emotions, and are seen as more likable by their peers. This emotional competency is thus important to help form and maintain friendships.
Parenting styles and the importance of emotion coaching
Dr. John Gottman, a psychologist who has studied parenting emotion philosophies identified three types of parents who fail to teach their kids emotional intelligence and they are:
- Dismissing parents, who disregard, ignore, or trivialise children’s negative emotions;
- Disapproving parents, who are critical of their children’s displays of negative feelings and may scold or punish them for emotional expression; and
- Relaxed parents, who accept their children’s emotions and empathise with them, but fail to offer guidance or set limits on their children’s behavior.
In contrast, parents who are able to validate and label their child’s emotions and model expressed emotions, are found to be related to a child’s ability to succeed in the preschool classroom.
It is noted that children who at age 5 receive emotion coaching, (i.e. the ability to talk about emotions while having them), are not overly emotional with their peers at age 8 because they have developed the skills to handle situations appropriately. These children are typically more aware of their emotions, and can regulate their upset feelings more easily through their actions and behaviours.
How can I emotion coach my child?
The key to effective emotion coaching is the strength of the relationship between you and your child.
Dr John Gottman and his research colleagues uncovered five steps in their studies of successful parent-child interaction:
- Acknowledge your children’s feelings.
- Help them to name the feelings, allow them to experience their feelings, and stay with them while they experience the feelings.
- Listen while trying not to divert their attention away from their feelings nor scold them for feeling that way.
- Respect their feelings and let them know that their feelings/wishes are valid.
- Set behavioral limits, discuss goals, and offer strategies to your child for dealing with situations that trigger negative emotions.
Before responding to your child, it’s a good idea to ask yourself, “Will what I’m about to do help me connect with my child and help him/her cope better with similar situations both in the present and in the future?”
Connection and closeness are crucial to a strong parent-child relationship. It is the context for all your interactions.
Winnie Keung, Psy.D., M.A., B.S.S. is a Clinical Psychologist at HOME Psychological Services