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Tips for Parents

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Tips for Parents

With many South Africans in lock down as a result of the global spread of COVID-19, Wimpy understands that parents across the nation are feeling the pressure and demand of educating and entertaining their kids at home.

Wimpy’s Occupational Therapist Tennille Brewer shares that just as the quality of a house’s foundation directly affects the sturdiness of the structure; similarly, a child’s foundation affects their functioning, growth and development of skills. Children learn a lot from hands-on interaction and play. They require movement in order to develop body concept, eye movements, gross motor skills, strength and endurance. A combination of indoor and outdoor play/activities is recommended for all children where safe and possible.

Many children rely on boundaries and a routine to provide security and knowledge on what is expected of them. One could create a “school-day schedule” to ensure a balance between indoors and outdoors is achieved; provide the structure and routine that children depend on as well as to cope with the lesson plans sent home by schools.

Whilst keeping busy at home, it is important to consider that most children will remember how their environment felt during the pandemic rather than the specifics of the virus. As our children are observing us and how we react during this period, let us wire their resilience rather than panic when faced with a stressful situation. As a family brand, Wimpy will continue to empower you with valuable content and loads of fun educational activities to keep your little ones entertained.

Gross Motor

Gross motor skills can be defined as the skills that involve the entire body, the larger muscles of the body. They are skills which allow us to control our large muscles of our bodies. These skills form the foundation blocks and are largely required for more complicated skills such as walking, running, sitting, crawling, and other activities. Gross motor skills further build the foundation for fine motor skills. If a child has difficulty sitting in a chair, tasks such as writing, and colouring will be more of a challenge.

Working on gross motor skills helps a child gain strength and confidence in his/her body. It also helps them get exercise and physical activity, which is important for a healthy lifestyle. Developing these skills helps a child’s ability to do more complex skills in future activities, such as playing soccer with a team. Ways to encourage gross motor skills at home include:

  • Making obstacle courses outside and have races
  • Jumping with two feet together (most children can do this by 3 years)
  • Moving up and down slopes; increasingly adventurous movement; stepping under and over, or up onto different levels
  • Play Simon Says
  • Animal walks
  • Garden yoga poses
  • Play ball games such as catch, kicking or throwing a ball at a target

Sensory

Our sensory system includes the 5 well known senses:

  1. Taste
  2. Touch
  3. Smell
  4. Auditory
  5. Visual

When referring to “taste”, one is generally speaking about a bundle of different sensations such as the taste perceived by the tongue along with the smell, texture and temperature of the food. So now you understand why the perception of taste is often dulled when your sense of smell is impaired due to a blocked nose…?

A bitter pill, sour grapes or sweet nothings – descriptions of taste are very often associated with strong emotions. They express in words states of intense pleasure as well as displeasure. Both our sense of taste and smell are closely linked to our emotions as they are connected to the involuntary nervous system. This explains why a bad taste or odour can elicit feelings of nausea or vomiting and flavours that are appetizing increase the production of saliva and gastric juices – making your mouth water!

A long weekend is the perfect time to create something delicious in the kitchen – cooking or baking. Why not mix sweet rainbow colour icing and decorate Mari-biscuits with your favourite nutty, jelly or chocolate treats on top? Or roll out some pizza dough, spread the tomato paste and top it with your best flavour combinations and crispy cheese? Playing games like blind taste tests further allows your child to identify and describe the flavours, textures and smells he/she experiences.

It’s time to use all your senses as you get your hands messy, your mouth watering and your eyes feasting! Don’t forget to add some music and stop to smell the aromas.