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The benefits of music

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Benefits of music for children

We know that children can benefit from learning how to play music, but why exactly is this?  This blog post explores what some of these benefits are.

Music can increase memory skills as learning how to play an instrument also helps children to learn how to create, store and retrieve memories.

As outlined in the Little Wise Toys’ phonics activity kit, listening skills and developing an awareness of sounds can play an important part in helping to lay the foundations for learning how to read.  Listening to and making music is a great way to support this.  One suggestion in the phonics kit is to make music by drumming on different items (loudly and softly) and listen to and talk about the different sounds that are made.

Music is also a great way to enhance maths skills. By understanding beat, rhythm and scales, for example, children are also learning how to divide, create fractions and recognise patterns.

When children improve their abilities with a specific instrument and achieve their goals, they can feel very satisfied and this can improve their self-esteem while also learning great concentration skills.

As outlined in the Little Wise Toys’ activity kit that focuses on developing social and emotional intelligence, it is also good to encourage children to engage in age-appropriate challenges that they can rise to.  Activities that appropriately stretch children’s abilities (such as learning to play a new musical instrument) can help them to learn how to deal with small amounts of ‘healthy stress’. Through this, they learn a fantastic growth mindset understanding that if they put some effort in, they can gain brand new skills, solve problems and make progress over time. It can also be a great lesson in how to deal with frustrations.

Another fantastic benefit of music is the opportunity it creates for children to express themselves. By learning how to express themselves and their complex feelings through music, they are able to find a way to show or play what they are feeling.

Here’s to music and all the good things that it brings…

🎶 🎶

Empathy

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empathy, social and emotional intelligence, children's mental health, children's well-being

Empathy Day was just a couple of days ago on 11th June. This day was founded in 2017 and was inspired by research which showed that humans are not born with a fixed amount of empathy and it is a skill that we can nurture and learn. Empathy means being able to imagine how others might feel in a given situation, and responding in a way that takes others’ feelings into account. It is a complex skill for children to learn and takes time to develop over a number of years. As outlined in the Little Wise Box of Emotions, there are many things that we can do to support the development of empathy in children. To name just a few in brief…

We can help children to learn to name and understand their own different emotions and feelings.

We can model empathy as little ones learn so much by how their parents respond to them when they are frightened or upset, and by watching our interactions with others.

We can regularly talk with our children about how they and other people might feel in different day-to-day situations.

We can read stories together which expose children to a wealth of new experiences, and give them the opportunity to practise seeing the world from the perspective of other people.

We can provide opportunities for children to engage in pretend play where they take on the role of different characters so that they can put themselves in someone else’s shoes.

Small steps in lots of different ways can help to make such a big difference in nurturing the development of social and emotional intelligence in young children 🤸🏾‍♀️🌈

P.S. I was at my mum’s the other day for my birthday BBQ. I picked the crisp in the image out of the bowl. Just before I was about to pop it into my mouth it made me smile to discover that it was the shape of a heart. I thought it seemed like an appropriate image for a post about empathy 😊❤️

Managing Emotions

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Managing emotions

This blog looks at an example of how the Little Wise Box of Emotions can help little ones learn how to manage their emotions and feelings.

One of the benefits of the Little Wise Box of Emotions is the opportunity it provides for little ones to get really hands on and interactive in their exploration of social and emotional development.  Not only does this make the whole process more engaging and fun, it can also empower kids (and parents) to be able to explore situations in more depth than they might otherwise do through talking alone.

As well as exploring social and emotional development more generally, the kit also provides a great opportunity to explore more specific situations. For example, it might be that you’ve noticed a particular event that regularly triggers big emotions in your child, such as worry, anger or frustration.  Whatever the trigger might be, the Little Wise Box of Emotions provides a fantastic opportunity to explore things together.

If you have chosen a particular incident to focus on that makes your little one frustrated, for example, alongside other possible feelings, you could  start off by looking through the different facial expressions/feelings in the kit and ask/help them to identify which ones are relevant to that particular situation.  You could talk about how each of these emotions make your little one feel (not forgetting how they present themselves physically too).   For younger children, this could also involve extending their vocabulary and introducing them to new names of different feelings (such an important part of developing children’s social and emotional intelligence).  You could then validate their feelings, offer empathy and understanding, and reassure them that no emotions are bad, it is how we react to them that is important.  You could then brainstorm together and identity different ways to handle the situation next time.  And then of course praise them when you see them implement some of their new techniques.

Sometimes these conversations might need to happen several times before you start to see a difference.  But, like sponges, bit by bit children are soaking everything up and are learning so much that they will benefit from for years to come.