Animals and humans learn by interacting with the stimuli around us. Therefore, it makes sense to think that the sooner this stimulation begins and the more it is improved, the more likely we are to learn and improve our skills.
These are the principles that govern early stimulation. Thanks to this dynamic of activities, children’s capacities and skills are improved, facilitating their physical, psychological and social development.
What is early stimulation?
Early stimulation activities are based on a series of exercises that aim to improve the development of the child, Both intellectually, physically and socially. These practices can begin as soon as the baby is born and continue to be practiced until the age of 6 years.
It should be noted that there are a certain number of routines or specific practices for each stage of the child, adapted to the level of development of his age. The reason why the ideal age group for performing these exercises is up to 6 years old is that up to this age the child enjoys greater brain plasticity.
The concept of brain plasticity refers to the ability of the nervous system to change and modify itself in response to an interaction with the environment. This means that, with the right stimulation, our brain has the ability to create new synapses and neural circuits that allow it to improve or improve. improve the activity and performance of certain areas of the brain.
These exercises can be performed both in healthy children, with the aim of improving their skills, and with children with some type of disorder or condition that affects their development. In this way, their compensatory capacities are stimulated and their physical and psychological capacities are improved.
Outraged, these dynamics can take place both at home and in schools and kindergartens specialized. After a short information period, parents who wish to do so can perform all of these exercises in the comfort of their own home, thus also strengthening the emotional bonds between parents and children.
The main goal of early stimulation is that by performing a series of stimulating activities, the child develops to increase his autonomy and independence. Likewise, great progress can be made in physical development, cognitive skills, communication and the sensory aspect.
That is to say?
First, a specific plan or program must be developed for each child. This program must be adapted to the needs of the little one, as well as to the availability and level of involvement of the parents and to the resources of the household.
This way they will be able to progressively evaluate the progress and progress of the child according to the minimum objectives set. With an appropriate activity plan, parents will be able to promote all areas of the child that interest them.
Parents should be patient and be aware that overly strict deadlines cannot be set for reaching goals, as there is no pre-set timeline that dictates how and when the baby will reach a goal.
The most important thing is to provide the child with a series of exercises suitable for his age, with which to work and increase his self-esteem. Gradually, the parents or those responsible for carrying out the exercises will modify the objectives of the plan according to the development of the little one as well as the results obtained.
The first step will always be to create an emotional and emotional bond with the little one, generating a space of trust in which he feels comfortable and safe to interact with us. Once this link has been made, the adult responsible for providing the early stimulation can start working in the other areas.
These areas include:
- emotional zone: Development of autonomy and independence of the child, as well as the recognition and expression of emotions.
- Cognitive zone: Development of the intellect and knowledge of the child.
- engine area: Development of gross and fine motor skills, strengthening of muscle control and coordination.
- social space: Development of skills for interaction with the environment.
- Linguistic area: Development of expression and comprehension of language.
Conditions of practice
A number of aspects must be taken into account to facilitate the realization of these activities. The first is that if the child is not in the mood or does not want to do the activities at some point, he should not be pressured; because for him it should be fun and not an obligation or a punishment.
Likewise, as mentioned above, the exercises must be adapted to the age and abilities of the child. If we force him to do something he is not prepared for, we can only increase his frustration and lower his self-esteem. Likewise, if the exercises are too easy or do not pose a small challenge to the child, he will lose interest in them and therefore decrease his motivation.
Reinforcement by parents or professionals is very important. Praise the child and praise his progress it will be vital to maintain your interest and motivation.
Early stimulation exercises according to stage
In line with the rest of the article, we present a series of examples of early stimulation exercises adapted to the child’s age, as well as designed to enhance each of the areas of development mentioned above.
1. From 0 to 12 months
Gross Motor Skills: A very effective activity for working on a baby’s gross motor skills is any activity that helps control the baby’s head. To do this, you must place the baby face down on the ground, showing flashy toys or stimuli that force him to hold his head up.
Social development: this exercise facilitates bodily self-knowledge and consists of placing the child in front of a mirror, in a comfortable position, so that he can begin to recognize himself in it. Then, performing movements with your arms or hands to keep their attention.
2. From 1 to 2 years
Gross motor skills: thanks to this exercise, we will improve the child’s sense of balance. For this, it is necessary to hold the child under the arms, moving smoothly from side to side and back and forth, Allowing this to straighten out.
3. From 2 to 3 years
Cognitive and language zone: read aloud children’s stories with illustrations that the child can see. Then ask simple questions about the story or let the child tell us their side of what they understood.
4. From 3 to 4 years old
Language and fine motor skills: the child will be asked to draw freely on a sheet, asking him to explain what he draws. They can also draw the two together and go about it by asking questions about the drawings.
5. From 4 to 6 years old
- Gross motor skills: encourage the child to dance. Do fun dance exercises this will stimulate their coordination and balance.