5th February 2014
Sitting at my desk this morning and I just can’t seem to concentrate. An hour of working and I feel exhausted and drained. Not a great attention span – I know ha ha!! As adults we know when to stop and take a rest, well we should but whether we do it or not is a different matter. This got me thinking about questions that I get asked time and time again by parents regarding our class durations. How long is too long? How much is too much? Can we over stimulate our children? And do we?
Let’s look at overstimulation first – I think the simple answer to this is yes, we can over stimulate our children and yes we sometimes do!
Activities should be kept to a manageable level for each child; each child is different, as are we as adults. So we need to follow their cues and watch for signs of over stimulation and support them to know when and how to stop, relax and calm themselves. These are skills that often adults themselves find difficult to do in their own lives.
The Bambinos class dedicates a section at the end of the class on relaxation. Some parents ask me why we do this, and each time I reply with the same answer ‘you (we) are teaching your child an important life skill. We are great at being told to keep our children active but often forget how to teach them to stop, be mindful and relax – this is why we do the relaxation from an early age so that it becomes second nature to them – a life skill’.
All classes at Bambino&beyond are structured to ensure the activities promote social, emotional, physical, cognitive and sensory development. Our classes begin with our opening song which starts all of our classes for under 5’s. This song provides familiarity and continuity for the children; it ensures they are engaged and ready for the social interaction and following activities. As the activities are designed to stimulate your child we keep these to what your child can absorb in one session. Over stimulating your child can lead to them becoming over tired, restless and agitated. Too much stimulation can actually have the opposite effect- it can slow down the developmental process rather than encourage and nurture it. Research shows that over stimulation can lead to a rise in the child’s level of stress hormone – cortisol which interferes with the brains ability to function well.
So back to addressing my questions; Ok, so if we want to avoid over stimulating our child, how long is too long? How much is too much? Well, Bambino&beyond believe that a 45 minute session is an ideal length to let the children familiarise themselves with the surroundings, become engaged, learn and have fun. Bambino&beyond always aim for the parents and children to leave relaxed, wanting more and not stressed with an over stimulated and unhappy child (and parent). When you are playing one to one with baby then I think trying to answer the question how much is too much is a bit like answering the question, ‘ how long is a piece of string?’. You will learn to pick up on their cues and they will learn to self soothe and stop when they need to as the get older.
Now, all I have left to say is that overstimulation has occurred here this morning. A whole blog written and my brain is fried! What was I saying about adults knowing when to stop – emmm would someone come and teach me how please!
We provide fun and interactive classes for children aged 0 - 10 years.