Early childhood is a stage when children develop basic skills and learn to become self- sufficient (Loehr & Meyers, 2009). During this time, a child undergoes physical, cognitive or socio-emotional growth and development.
Cognitive skills allow a child to process the sensory information they acquire from the environment (Loehr & Meyers, 2009). Cognitive skills can be learned and acquired. These involve the memory, concentration, attention, and perception of the environment. A child can be engaged in the following activities to improve these skills. Singing with them, can be acquired through attending church. Practicing alphabets and counting numbers. Practicing shapes and colors, visiting a place, and offering them choices of food or clothing, which helps children, develop perception (Loehr & Meyers, 2009). A child should not always stay in one environment
The Motor Skills
They refer to the use of muscles, joints, and limbs. They are categorized into gross and fine skills. Activities to develop gross skills include moving, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, and running. Fine motor activities encompass the ability of a child to manipulate small and tiny objects, coordination between hands and face (eye, nose and mouth), coloring, drawing, writing, and moving objects from one hand to another (Johnstone & Ramon, 2011). It refers to the use of smaller muscles (Johnstone & Ramon, 2011). Therefore, children should do exercises, play, and eat a balanced diet to develop these skills. During this stage, children should not stay in houses watching TV or eat excess portions of food.
Research has shown that the first 5 years are crucial and influence in the child’s health in future. Negative experiences can impair the children’s mental health (Malouff & Schutte, 2014). These skills can be improved by providing structure and daily routines at home, which creates a secure environment for a child. Encouraging children to be independent through mastering to dress, to brush their teeth, to feed a pet, and to praise them when they do it, helps in the development of socio-emotional skills. Teaching children to recite their names, parent’s names, gender, and age develops socio-emotional skills. Allow children to have regular social contact with other children of the same age whom they can play with. Do not let them play alone. Encourage children to wash their hands, learning to share, identifying changing moods of the people around. Encourage the child to talk about school, church, and experience with friends (Malouff & Schutte, 2014).
- Johnstone, J. A., & Ramon, M. (2011). Perceptual-motor activities for children: An evidence-based guide to building physical and cognitive skills. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
- Loehr, J., & Meyers, J. (2009). Raising your child: The complete illustrated guide: a parenting timeline of what to do at every age and stage of your child’s development. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press.
- Malouff, J. M., & Schutte, N. S. (2014). Activities to enhance social, emotional, and problem-solving skills: Ninety activities that teach children, adolescents, and adults skills crucial to success in life.