I want to switch gears this week and focus on three very important topics for growth and development in children.
1. I spent my childhood going on adventures with various characters in my favorite novels, whether it was counting feet from Dr. Seuss’ The Foot Book or discovering a repressed world with Jonas in The Giver. I did not realize then what I realize now: while I was lost in my fun, fictional world, I was starting my own adventure of intellectual growth. I cannot express how important of a factor reading was and continues to be in increasing my own cognitive ability.
Reading, on top of being an enjoyable leisure activity, has also been proven to strengthen writing skills, expand vocabulary, and increase cognitive function. It also can help the brain to relax and lead to better, more restful sleep. For children, all of these benefits are essential for cognitive development! Even when a child does not enjoy reading chapter books and novels, there are other options, such as their favorite comic books, magazines, picture books, graphic novels, cookbooks, and even online blogs! 😉 These benefits are not limited to non-fiction, novels and come from all types of literature.
2. Are you enjoying the #functionalfriday series on social media over this past month? I especially love writing about them, especially since it is very common to hear from [high school] students that school does not prepare them with functional life skills. These basic life skills that can be developed first within their home are essential to maintain an environment conducive to productivity, as well as physical and mental health! This week I want to focus on the living room.
Here’s are a list of tasks needed to maintain a clean and organized communal living area:
Vacuum! I cannot stress this enough: dirt and dust can be detrimental to the lungs. Regular vacuuming is important for respiratory health. Also, food crumbs can lead to all kinds of creatures - yuck! In fact, my granny used to make us bring out the handheld vacuum every time we had a snack because she wanted nothing to do with bugs 😂
Clean up after yourself! If you took out a toy/blanket/snacks, put it back where it came from to minimize the pile and keep it clutter-free.
Sweep the floor/mop the floor! This is along the same lines as the vacuum- no crumbs/dirt/dust allowed!
Turn off lights/electronics when leaving room! When you are leaving a room for an extended period of time, make sure to turn off all electronics and lights to save electricity. This is not only better for your light bill, it's better for your electronics as well.
Last but not least, this Sunday 2/7/21 is Send a card to a Friend day. I want to challenge all of you and your children/students to send a greeting card telling them that you appreciate their friendship! Talk to your children about the importance of being kind to others, having friends, and cherishing those friends.
It is important to differentiate to kids the differences between a good friend and a person they should be kind to, but keep at a distance. All people are worthy of kindness, but not closeness. The right friends help us deal with stress and they help us make better choices that keep us strong. Having friends around has even been shown to correlate with faster rebounds from health issues. Friendship is also important for mental health, as quality friends can provide support as well as a place to safely express feelings.
Encourage appreciation of good friends this week! Text, voice message, or video chat someone each day to say “hi” and “thinking of you!” And don’t forget to teach your functional tips and encourage reading of all kinds. Have a great week!