Brain training is all the rage now among parents and their children, but how does it help toddlers?
WORDS NURULHUDA SUHAIMI
1. Prepares Toddlers for School
One of the main goals of brain training in early childhood is to equip toddlers with the necessary skills they require in school. “Brain training, similar to physical training, is like exercises for our “mental muscles” so that we can build a healthier and fitter brain, which will be crucial for learning in school,” says Marjorie Tay, brain fitness trainer at BrainFit Studio, “In order to enhance our cognition, brain training helps by building stronger and faster connectivity among the brain cells, such that one is able to process and respond faster and more accurately.”
Tay also emphasises the importance of building a solid foundation of cognitive skills early on in your child’s life to aid him in school. “Many abilities that are required for learning in school such as handwriting, spelling, and learning how to read and write are built on top of skills that are learnt in the early years. For example, learning how to stack blocks or building links are important for strengthening finger muscles which are needed for activities as simple as cutting paper,” she says.
2. Better Attention Span
Ever tried to make your little tot sit down and read a whole book without him getting distracted? Or have him wait for you to open up the packaging of a toy, only for him to move on to a different activity by the time you get the toy out?
Toddlers typically have short attention spans, which explains why it can be such a chore
to get them to concentrate on a particular activity for a significant length of time.
On average, toddlers are able to focus on an activity for about 15 minutes
before they get bored and move on to something else.
While this is normal among toddlers, some parents worry that their little tot’s short attention span may affect their learning later on in school. Lessons in school usually last for 30 minutes or more, so the ability to remain attentive is crucial. Brain training aims at improving this cognitive skill so that the attention spans of toddlers can be developed and improved, in turn preparing them for a more rigorous learning schedule later on.
3. Improves Working Memory
Working memory is the ability to temporarily retain information in order to perform tasks effectively. Let’s say you give your toddler a set of things he has to do before eating dinner such as switching off the television, keeping his toys away and putting his books back on the bookshelves. An efficient working memory will allow your toddler to complete each of these tasks step by step; after he has switched off the television, he knows that what comes next is keeping his toys away, and while he is doing that, he remembers that the next task he has to do is to keep his books.
Many brain training activities for toddlers target at improving working memory because it plays an essential role in their learning in school. Skills such as learning Mathematics, reading and comprehension, and following the teacher’s instructions in class all rely on a good working memory. For example, when your child is reading a paragraph in a book, his working memory should enable him to remember what he read in the beginning by the time he reaches the end of the paragraph. If your child has difficulties with this, it may affect his reading and comprehension skills as he grows older.