Wednesday, May 6, 2009

STI: Play hard with your kid

May 7, 2009

Play hard with your kid

A child who gets stimulation from his enthusiastic parents is likely to develop faster than a child who does not. JUNE CHEONG reports


Parents should throw themselves wholeheartedly into raising their children, especially when tiny tots are picking up skills like how to walk or grasp things.


Dr Ong Eng Keow, a paediatrician at the Singapore Baby & Child Clinic at Thomson Medical Centre, said: 'A child who receives stimulation from his enthusiastic parents is likely to be more advanced than a child who has the same potential but does not get the same amount of attention.'


Parents can help their children develop their motor skills through play.


Dr Ong said: 'Play is an important form of stimulation that helps the child develop in many areas. The child will learn language and speech.


'Playing with your child also helps him develop different sets of muscles.'


When a baby is one month old, he can usually lift his head momentarily when held face down and raise his head when he is lying on his tummy.


At three months, a baby can lift his chest off the bed when lying on his tummy and he can hold his head up when he is held upright. This is also the point when most babies start reaching out for things and grasping at objects.


Parents can help stimulate their baby's gross motor skills by giving them toys like rattles, teethers and squeaky rubber toys.


At four months, a baby can roll around quite comfortably and pull himself up to a sitting position. He may also start putting objects he comes across into his mouth.


A month later he should be able to hold toys and other objects in his hand.


When a baby reaches the six-month mark, he can usually sit up and pick up things like blocks. Textured books, balls and soft blocks are good for honing his motor skills.


At nine months, a baby is often able to sit unsupported and stand up while holding onto someone or something.


Babies start to explore their surroundings more when they can walk. This commonly happens at the one-year mark and parents can encourage their tiny tot's fine motor development by stacking cubes or sorting shapes with them.


When a toddler turns two, he can often run as well as he walks. Parents should then get their toddler to engage in physical activities like running, hopping and throwing or kicking a ball.


When asked why the development of motor skills in young children is important, Dr Ong said: 'It helps the child attain different levels of skills needed for activities of daily living.'

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