Working with Younger Children

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When working with younger children, many parents have questions, such as:

  • What age should I start linking memory with my child?
  • How do you do Mandala with a baby? 
  • How can you get a two year old to look at 3D pictures?

We will try to address them here in this post.

The QSR Program

In the QSR Program, there are activities recommended for children by age group from as young as new-born. However, most of the early activities for children aged 0-4 are fairly general activities that all parents are encouraged to follow. The QSR Program proper is not intended for children below 4. In fact, those activities are intended for elementary school children and above.

0-2 years old

  • speak to your child
  • give your child lots of daily life experiences
  • read picture books with your child

2-4 years old

  • communicate your love through touch – you can never have too many cuddles and hugs
  • tell imaginary stories where your child is the hero
  • play pretend where your child is something or somebody
  • let your child play with toy dishes while you are in the kitchen cooking
  • play outside in nature
  • play with friends
  • lots of picture books (8 pages); reread the ones that he likes

4-6 years old

  • let your child talk to his friends
  • let your child play in groups (e.g. in playschool)
  • lots of pictures books; include a wide range of books (such as ones that adults might enjoy as well)
  • QSR training: flying into Mum’s belly, into own body and into books; demonstrate how to flip through books without going into the contents

The fundamental messages from the early activities are: love, imagination, play and books.

The RBE Program

In most Right Brain Education schools, children begin the program from the age of 6 months. They are accompanied in class by one parent. Even though these children are too young to participate in the activities, they are encouraged to observe as their parents complete the tasks. Up until 3 years of age, the focus of RBE is more on input and less on output.

At home, you can do the same thing – practice the activities yourself while your child watches. This follows the concept of a child sitting in the kitchen watching mother cook; or the child watching father play chess. At this young age, children naturally want to follow and mimic what their parents are doing. It builds the foundation for future practice as your child eventually develops the ability to complete the tasks.

Heguru Right Brain School’s recommendation for home practice is to focus on reading and flash cards, then memory work. You can build on this framework by gradually adding in more activities from the Right Brain Home Practice Guidelines as your child’s attention and ability develops.

Memory work for children under 3 years depends largely on their ability to take instruction and to articulate themselvesSince most children are still developing speech, it can be difficult to do activities like linking memory. Even if they have some speech, the effort of articulation may detract from the child’s participation of the activity. You can try the following, but don’t force. If your child is reluctant to participate, fill in the answers yourself wcanith your child observing.

Linking Memory Example

Full instructions for the linking memory activity can be found here – Right Brain Activity: Memory Train.

  1. Begin with 3 cards. For example, you might have an elephant, a tennis raquet, and a cup of coffee.
  2. As you display each card, create a story linking the pictures, such as, “an elephant used his tennis raquet to stir his cup of coffee”.
  3. Cover the cards or flip them upside-down.
  4. Ask your child to locate one of the cards randomly. You might ask: “Where is the coffee cup?” Wait for your child to point to the card and turn it over to show whether it is correct.

Give your child a chance to answer but don’t force. If your child is reluctant, you can try saying, “Let Mummy try…” and then choose a card. Your child may be more willing to answer the next time around.

If 3 cards are too easy, increase to 4 cards. Continue to build up the number of cards used in the story until your child is struggling to remember where each image is. Remain on the same number of cards until your child’s memory has strengthened before progressing.

Younger children generally have short attention spans so it is best to limit the time spent on this activity. Play only when your child is happy and having fun. Remember that the focus of right brain education for children under 3 years is input. This activity and any activity that requires your child to give an answer is considered output. Therefore, if your two year old is disinterested in practicing linking memory, don’t worry, just focus on reading books and speed flash cards.

This variation of linking memory is also a good alternative to play with an older child as it helps to develop memory function by recalling where the cards are at random rather than having to rely on the story to determine which card appears next. If you have read 5 Ways to Maximise Your Child’s Cognitive Potential, you may recall that novelty and new challenges are a great way to further develop the brain. Trying to remember the cards randomly presents a different memory challenge for your child.

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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