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Updated: April 10, 2014 00:09 IST

Limit child’s access to gizmos, says expert

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Ellen Booth Church, American expert in children's education in Vijayawada. PHOTO: V_RAJU.
The Hindu
Ellen Booth Church, American expert in children's education in Vijayawada. PHOTO: V_RAJU.

‘Let them engage in activities like music, art, and dance’

Children these days are operating electronic devises like smart phones practically moments after being born. Children as young as two, or even younger, clutching mom’s or dad’s phone to play games or view videos is common place.

“But we must limit our children’ access to technology. Just look at the playgrounds around wearing a deserted look because all the children are busy doing something else – swipe…swipe…swipe,” said Ellen Booth Church, a childhood education expert from America, here on Wednesday.

Addressing a gathering of kindergarteners and their young parents at the local franchise of Kinderpillar Ivy League Children, an American format pre-school designed and implemented by Ms. Church, she said it was important for parents to ensure match their kid’s theory lessons with practical knowledge. “If they have learned about a tree or an apple, take them out and show them a tree and an apple. Let the theory match with practical knowledge,” she emphasised.

No TV

Warning parents against allowing their children to watch television beyond half an hour, she goads, “Instead, let them engage in interaction. Children learn from interaction. Or, still better, let them build blocks. That’s more or less engineering. They learn symmetry,” she said citing the example of renowned American architect, interior designer, writer and educator Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed more than a 1,000 structures.

She said extensive research by an American neurobiologist had proved that stress can shrink the brain of a child. “Activities like music, art, dance, painting, playtime and a loving touch are the answers. Doing them can help in honing the brain.”

In an interactive session that followed, she answered curious queries of the parents who were eager to master the techniques on how to keep their wards happy and healthy.

She wanted the parents to read to their children. “After they get used to story books, one can graduate to other informative stuff,” she says adding: “Also, make sure that your child is always given choices. Give them ability to make their choice. This will help them define themselves in the long run. Building on individuated stuff with a child is very important,” she said.

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