Why it's important for children to learn to 'switch off'

It's been well established that rest and sleep are vital to our physical and mental health.

Dr Melodie de Jager, neurodevelopmental specialist and founder of the BabyGym Institute tells Phemelo why it's important to learn how to do this from infancy.

Movement naturally wires the brain, but then you need to sleep.

Dr Melodie de Jager, Neurodevelopmental specialist and founder of the BabyGym Institute

If a baby learns to sleep and to stop, so will a toddler, so will a child, so will a student later on as well.

Dr Melodie de Jager, Neurodevelopmental specialist and founder of the BabyGym Institute

Most people who battle with anxiety and with attention deficit... they find it impossible to find their off button.

Dr Melodie de Jager, Neurodevelopmental specialist and founder of the BabyGym Institute

But how do you get your child to "stop"?

I need to talk about discipline and stopping, because stopping is a form of discipline.

Dr Melodie de Jager, Neurodevelopmental specialist and founder of the BabyGym Institute

Dr de Jager explains one specific three-step technique that helps with children who have not learnt about "stopping".

She says, for some reason, it works especially well if done by dads.

The first thing is to know if you stay 'stop' and they don't - well if they could, they would. If they're not stopping, it's not because they're spiteful, or lazy, or whatever other kind of label we want to come up with, so you need to teach them.

Dr Melodie de Jager, Neurodevelopmental specialist and founder of the BabyGym Institute

The dad stands behind the child, the child stands with their back towards the dad. The dad takes the child's ears in his hands. Between his thumbs and his fingers, he unrolls the earlobe from the top all the way down to the bottom.

Dr Melodie de Jager, Neurodevelopmental specialist and founder of the BabyGym Institute

That switches on the entire brain and specifically the control system.

Dr Melodie de Jager, Neurodevelopmental specialist and founder of the BabyGym Institute

Then the dad uses his hands firmly to trace the outline of the child's body... till it gets to to the ankles, you hold the ankles and you literallly plant the feet. That switches on the stop switch.

Dr Melodie de Jager, Neurodevelopmental specialist and founder of the BabyGym Institute

To hear more from Dr de Jager and the rest of the 3-step exercise, click below:


This article first appeared on 702 : Why it's important for children to learn to 'switch off'


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