How To Sharpen Your Child’s Brain Through Play: Lesson 4

Play 4: False feeding for kids under seven (7) months


False feeding play is one game that can connect the minds of the parents or caregivers with that of the child for life. Even with exclusive breastfeeding, the child would have started eating other foods by seven (7) months, though some parents start feeding their children before the sixth month. To sharpen the brain of a child through play, parents or caregivers must have a relaxed posture and have a loving, smiling demeanor towards the child during the play. Otherwise, the child will not cooperate because the kids are very sensitive to the environment of the play. After all, even adults seem not to cooperate in a tense environment. This false feeding play is a play that does not need any extra resources aside from the food the child is to feed on. Sharpening the brain simply refers to bringing backwards a lesson that is supposed to be learnt in later years to be learnt earlier.

The false feeding play

If you are prepared in mind, love and laughter, you will enjoy your child chasing your hands for feeding. The play involves sending the food you are feeding the child to both sides (left and right) of the child’s mouth or to the up/down part of the child’s mouth and/or just keeping the food close to the mouth of the child for him/her to grab it while you draw your hands backwards.

Find about three minutes (3) during feeding, especially mid-feeding, and/or with your child’s favourite meal for this play to be effective and efficient. Children less than seven (7) months old are now experiencing solid food and can really enjoy their meal when fed under loving and relaxed conditions. There are several lessons kids can learn earlier instead of waiting to learn in the future. Kids are very good and interesting learners because they learn fast and move on in search of new activities. Therefore, the earlier the better. The lessons that can be learnt from this play are

a) direction

b) action and reaction

c) reading the minds of others

d) decisions

a. Direction

There is no doubt, children under the age of seven (7) months will try to touch/pick/turn both left or right and both front/back. This process is, however, a normal process because the circumstances that make the child touch/pick/turn in all those directions do not occur fast, in quick succession. The false feeding play, which involves shifting the feeding hand in a quick succession in all directions, grooms the child’s mind to consciously identify all those directions.

b. Action and reactions

This false feeding can reveal the early signs of the genetic make-up of your child in terms of his or her patience. This false feeding play will force your child to react to a relatively uncomfortable situation of not getting his or her food when he or she is ready or during the feeding. You will notice a lot of reactions, like not following the food at all, crying, grabbing the feeding spoon/hand, smiling face or just following the food with the mouth hoping to grab the food. No matter the reaction, keep smiling to indicate to the child it is just a play. The child will eventually get to know in whatever direction the feeding hand goes, the mouth must follow. At this point, the child has learnt action and reaction. The play must be halted if the child is crying. And unreactive kids must be baited continuously to play, with a little more feeding or sending the feeling hand/spoon to another person close by while indicating to the kid others will eat the food.

c. Reading the minds of others

Predicting or forecasting the future or predicting the next event is one common phenomenon in adult life. The ability to predict earlier definitely will be advantageous. Learning to predict or forecast or read minds early enough will be key. Children who have matured in the false feeding game, could move their mouth to the next position or direction he or she perceives the feeding hand will go next. At this point, the child has mastered the game and is able to read the mind of the caregiver, even if he or she gets the next direction wrong. After all, mind reading or forecasting/predictions are not 100% accurate.

d. Decisions

To play or not to play? To eat or go hungry. These children’s plays give the kids the opportunity to constantly make conscious decisions and assert them or make those decisions flexible. Since decision making is all life is about, grooming your kids in that respect will be of essence.

Do not force them to play the game when the child is not ready or not in the mood. To ensure full participation of the child in the game, he or she must be caressed and entertained before feeding. Otherwise, observe the child during feeding whether he or she is ready for the game, taking into account whether he or she is enjoying the meal.

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