Children need face time, for their social and emotional development and for kindergarten readiness. Last month, on Learn and Play with Mrs. A, I interviewed a military mom, Judy Davis, about young children in military families. One topic we discussed was some strategies to help children cope when one or both parents is away from home. Judy mentioned a special doll that has a clear pocket over the face where kids can slide in a photo of their mom or dad. This helps young children feel closer to the absent parent and maintain the connection.
Military families are not the only ones with a parent who may be away for days, weeks, or months at a time. There are Hope dolls, Breast Cancer dolls, and ones that say I Love You printed all over, also with a pocket for sliding in a picture of a face. These dolls meet a need of young children. Simply put, kids need face time.
Faces have a tremendous amount of information for young brains to deal with. Plus, expressions and other characteristics, such as hairstyle or glasses, change. Learning to recognize faces is a memory challenge. Figuring out what facial expressions mean, requires that children know about emotions and feelings. These are part of the social and emotional skills that will help children interact with others and develop their kindergarten readiness. When children start kindergarten, they will have a greater level and demand of independent connecting and interacting.
Faces connect us to each other. Last weekend was the long weekend in Canada for Victoria Day; this weekend is the long weekend in the US for Memorial Day. In both countries, the long weekend is often a time to get together with families and friends. For some, it is a time to remember the face of someone who is longer here. To learn about faces, kids need lots of face-to-face experiences. Are there some ways to give your child some face time today?
Your blog was wonderful – it reminded me how I used to take magazine pages that had a big face and put them in a clear plastic notebook sleeve and stick it near my baby’s swing or bassinette… I remember watching them “talk” to the face… and I’d change it out when I’d find another neat face. (long before computers) Talking about face-to-face time, I remember engaging my babies with whatever chores I was doing – I’d talk out loud no matter what I was doing… reading a recipe, looking up something in the phone book, assembling something… By verbalizing my thought processes, it was a patterning of sorts in their development… and by talking to them by doing it was including them in my chores or work. My goodness, that was a bit ago! I loved every stage of their development, and I love them now as adults….