It was a fun yet very informative workshop, the Dutch Lady Smart Steps Workshop which happened a couple of weeks back. I've had the opportunity to attend it, and my was it educational. All the parents present during the workshop got to hear from experts to better understand our child’s mental development and how to optimize it with the right nutrition. Check out some bits and pieces of what I've learnt to be shared in this post.
|Dutch Lady Smart Steps Workshop @ Connexion Nexus Bangsar South|
Smart Steps: Uncover the Power of Nutrition to your Child’s Development
Date: 24th January 2015, Saturday
Time: 10.30am (Registration from 9.30am onwards)
Venue: Auditorium, Connexion@Nexus, Bangsar South
|A couple of the bloggers (MrJocko and Broframestone) who attended the Dutch Lady Smart Steps Workshop with their family|
|Geozo with her family|
Arriving at the venue at Connexion Nexus Bangsar South, I was delighted to catch up with a couple of other parent bloggers who took the chance to come over and listen to the experts. Most came with their children and spouse, but this time around I came alone as Baby Karlson wasn't feeling very well that time.
|Children and parents mingling before the workshop began|
My aim to attend the Dutch Lady Smart Steps Workshop was to listen to the experts and pick up what they have to advice on the co-relation between nutrition and cognitive development, the importance of tailored nutrition for different smart milestone and parents’ role in helping them to develop better.
|The auditorium filled with parents and children|
Here-forth, let me spill out some of the notes I've taken during the session. Heading the workshop are Dr. Alvin Ng Lai Oon from Sunway University’s Department of Psychology; Professor Dr. Poh Bee Koon, Head of Nutritional Sciences Programme at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia; and Dr. Yong Junina Fadzil, Consultant Paediatrician.
|The panel of experts|
Nutrition is one of the important factors of a child’s cognitive performance or IQ level. Parents who want intelligent kids with good IQ or healthy mental development should pay attention to their nutritional intake as one of the aspects to support their brain development. Other influencing factors include providing a stimulating environment and interactive caregivers.
Importance of Nutrition and how does Malnutrition impact mental development:
- Nutrition is an important influencing factor with regards to the continuous growth and development that occur throughout the childhood period.
- Essential nutrients are needed to develop a healthy and smart brain.
- Different nutrients are required at various growth stages of mental development.
- Lack of healthy food leads to stunted physical growth, slowed or reduced brain development, and also the increase in suppression of the body’s immune system.
- Children whose early childhood was marked by nutrients deficiency can face a lifetime of health issues.
- SEANUTS (South East Asian Nutrition Survey) cognitive study clearly establishes nutrition’s impact on a child’s mental development and intelligence.
|Professor Dr. Poh Bee Koon, Head of Nutritional Sciences Programme at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia|
So how exactly does a child grow smarter? From what the experts say, a child learns actively from birth. Cognitively or mentally, he gathers, sorts and processes information from around him, and uses the information to perceive, gain understanding and learn about the world. In a nutshell, children learn and acquire intelligence and smartness as they develop mentally.
|Stages of Mental Development|
Milk as a natural source for nutrients
- Milk has all the nutrients, micro nutrients and calcium needed by a growing child.
- Depending on the child’s lifestyle and daily nutrient intakes, there is a choice between full cream and low fat milk.
- It is also important to ensure that the child is not eating passively and they are getting enough physical activity, preferably outdoor for some fresh air and sunlight.
|Dr. Alvin Ng Lai Oon from Sunway University’s Department of Psychology|
How to stimulate your child's brain?
Play games for mental development during early childhood. They are an effective way to help kids grow intellectually, and in the long run, develop and grow in other aspects to be an all-rounder. Example: Fluency Building or SpeedSmart Training (to be explained in further detail below). Dr Alvin Ng explained and demonstrated to us how a SpeedSmart training is done.
What is SpeedSmart?
- Practising skills repeatedly with a short time limit
- From simplest basic skill to more complex skill
- Focus on both, speed and accuracy
- Clear targets and measurements
- Outcome: Mastery / Automaticity / Fluency (doing without thinking)
|Dr. Yong Junina Fadzil, Consultant Paediatrician.|
How Parents can Stimulate Children’s Mental Development
- Emotional development in children is often linked with social development.
- How the child feel will affect how they socialise with their peers or loved ones. A child who feels confident is more likely to make more friends and play with them in a group.
- As such, games for mental development during early childhood are an effective way to help kids grow intellectually, and in the long run, develop and grow in other aspects to be an all-rounder.
|While the parents undergo the workshop, children can play at designated areas|
|One for the album|
I must say, after undergoing the fun and interactive Dutch Lady Smart Steps Workshop, I've picked up a couple of pointers on what will be the best method to ensure both Baby Martin and Baby Karlson grows up healthy both physically and mentally. Nutrition plays a very very important role, hence the choice of milk or other nutritional food is vital for them to grow.
I'm looking forward to more of these workshops, be it from Dutch Lady or other sources, as I'm always open to learn more on how to grow these kids of mine. Thank you Dutch Lady for organizing the Smart Steps Workshop!