A mother must be exasperated to see her baby who can never sit calm, especially if you have to go to public places or visiting to the house of friends and relatives. “I’m tired, even embarrassed if my child run up the road to and fro and go up and up the stairs if invited to visit. I think my child is hyperactive,” she complains. She comes to psychology consulting room to ask if there is something wrong with the development of her children.
All children grow and develop in varying degrees, including in their development of physical movement or kinesthetic intelligence. There is one phase of gross motor development when it is growing rapidly, but there are other phases of fine motor development which is the major concern.
Bodily kinesthetic intelligence is the human ability to connect and use our mind in tune with body movements, including the body’s ability to manipulate objects and create a variety of movements. Kids with this intelligence are able to use and connect between the mind and body together to achieve certain goals. For example, children who skillfully climb trees, fly kites, or play jump rope with a variety of movements. It is on contrast to children who have hyperactivity disorder who usually move unfocused and tend to be impulsive. There are no planned movements. Therefore, children with hyperactivity are difficult to achieve the goal of complex movement, such as climbing trees or playing jump rope.
According to Lwin, et.al in his book How to Multiply Your Child’s Intelligence, the characteristics of child with kinesthetic intelligence can be observed by you. Children are really like to move like running, walking, jumping, and so on in a room freely. Although sometimes they fall, the situation is still normal for children aged less than three years. Do not limit their motion, because they are still physically growing. But you still can watch them from falling.
In addition, children with kinesthetic intelligent at toddler age are also capable of throwing directed about as far as one meter, doing things like climbing high, playing in the water, and running up and down the stairs. Children are able to jump with two legs like a jumping frog. This capability requires a balance of body and is usually mastered by children aged 4-5 years. When you play a song, their body is moving in harmony to the music. They like to pretend doing some activities (role playing) for example, pretending to be a frog, duck, imitating the action of driving a car, or cooking. They do not like sitting in a long time. Other characteristic is that the child can put off their shirts, pants, and socks by themselves. They can also build bridges with blocks without falling. This activity involves fine motor skills, visual motor coordination, and balance.
Meanwhile, for children aged 6-12 years, kinesthetic intelligence is shown by their balance when they stand on one foot for a few seconds, walk backwards while standing on tiptoe, move around in waist-deep water, and perform simple dance movements. If the child has the kinesthetic ability, it means it exceeds the ability of the average child of his age. Kinesthetic intelligence is included to plural intelligence, meaning that children also have other skills related to this kinesthetic intelligence.
Concentration and directional motion
Activities that could be taught related to fine motor skills, among others are painting, making ceramics, and painting batik. At the age of 2-4 years, children can be taught to make Play-Dough by squeezing and shaping it at will. When entering the age of 5 years, take the child to draw the appropriate pattern and imagination.
The types of games for children are not only physical activity or outdoor games, but also there are also indoor games that require concentration. It is the parents’ task to facilitate the movement of the children. When children like to ride up home furnishings, create games that allow children to climb, climb, for example, by pretending to be in the woods and imitate all the movements of animals. Encourage the child to be a rabbit, hopping around the room, to be a snake to crawl like a snake, or to be a monkey hanging from the edge of the doorframe. Next time, when heavy rain falls, take the child to do activities indoors, such as building castles with wooden blocks, playing houses under the dining table, or playing snake and ladder. Facilitate your children with diverse tools such as balls, hula-hoop, and teeter totter mattresses. This activity can distract children from TV screen, play station or playing video games. Do not forget to take some time to play together with him.
Make it full of activities that involve physics
Involve the kinesthetic intelligence in children’s learning activities. For example, if a child wants to memorize the provincial capital of Indonesia, have the children make a sequence of lines by using chalk or markers from the tip to the middle and so on. When teaching vocabulary, for example, the word earthquakes make the children draw the illustrations with body movements without words. Or when learning mathematics, use fingers to count and use the arm or leg to measure the area. In children aged 2-5 years, make them draw geometric shapes such as triangle, circle or square in order to stretch their body and hands. Children will be more accepting and considering these concepts rather than just memorizing.
Ask the child to use his body to express emotions, such as jumping when he feels happy or frowning when angry. When children are playing, set their favorite music and let the kids pretend to be a singer or expressing the song. It can help developing their creative thinking skills. Dance or move your body as well in order to make the children happy and at the same time can also dispel the stress of children.
To extend the child’s kinesthetic memory capability, it can be seen through their pattern of movement such as when doing miming. For example, ask the child demonstrates an elephant, a number 9, the form of waves in the ocean or flowers that are blooming. Ask the children to repeat the movement after a pause of rest 10-15 minutes. It can be challenging boundaries and increase the flexibility of motor gestures and posture. These activities also contribute to the development of thinking ability of children. Show pictures of animals, objects or buildings, then ask the child to make the position with body language and move his whole body. Watch the position or attitude of the child’s body as it moves in order to not endanger the coordination of body movements.
Fitness for children
The National Association for Sports and Physical Education recommends school-age children to do physical activity at least an hour a day with a variety of different activities every 15-30 minutes. Before taking children to move, you should first identify the level of development, age, abilities, and interests of children.
At the age of 4 and 6 years, children begin to hone their physical basis such as jumping, throwing, kicking, and catching. Usually kids like team sports such as soccer, softball, and basketball. There are children who are able to compete, but there also ones who have not been able to engage in a league championship. Recognize the essential character of the child and still give support by being a mental coach or a cheerleader when children play.
Children begin to enjoy, coordinate, and develop his ability when aged 8-12 years. It’s time for you to see and confirm the child’s interest. Is the child beginning to leave his soccer schedule on Sundays or on the contrary interested in following the league championship? Ask and discuss this with your children. Do not force your child if he is not interested in sports. Try to offer other activities, such as painting, dancing, or making crafts that can also develop fine motor nerves.
Create an opponent’s ball game of 1 on 1 or 2 on 2. These sports activities are not only to train the gestures of children but also to teach sportsmanship, teamwork, targeting goals, challenges, and familiarity. If necessary, list your children to sports clubs such as martial arts, swimming, hiking, and so on. Children who are able and kinesthetically intelligent are usually happy to kick the ball directionally. By developing kinesthetic intelligence through physical activity, children are playing and enjoying an active lifestyle through the activities of one sport or game.
Activities inside your house can as well be utilized as a motion kinesthetic. Encourage the child to engage in the work of chores from the bed to cook. Through cooking activities, like kneading the cookie dough can train motor skills of children, such as pressing, shaping, and cutting. Moreover, children can also learn science, for example, when the heated water boils and forms steam.
The easiest example of kinesthetic intelligent that can be found is by looking at the success of the athletes. For example, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan are the world’s top athletes whom of course we all recognize of their ability to control the mind and body movement. However, it is not just a sports athlete, kinesthetic intelligent also has benefit including:
Developing the psychomotor skills
Psychomotor ability is the ability to coordinate parts of the body by the brain in order to make the body to be able to function in harmony. This ability is closely correlated with the type of work of adults, for example aviators (need visual motor coordination and thought highly optimized), or the artist (to paint, dance, sculpture, carvings, etc.). Psychomotor ability is very rapidly growing at an early age.
Developing social skills
Children who are able to play well (running, jumping, doing fine motor activity) have generally better social skills. With this physical activity, the child has the opportunity to interact with peers. And since of his physical abilities are well, children are better in expressing themselves through physical activity as well in developing all interpersonal communication skills.
Developing confidence and self esteem
Children enjoy the activities that he can do well. For example, if children are able to move in harmony with the music, they would love to dance and almost on every occasion they will dance. Therefore they would feel more confident when faced with a situation where they can show their physical abilities. Furthermore, it also helps to maintain the health and body weight in its effort to avoid obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.
Keep watching the safety and health of children. Contact your doctor immediately if your child starts complaining of some pains in certain parts. There is a possibility the child had fallen, injured or sprained but didn’t not immediately tell you. If the child’s condition is considered chronic, do not engage first with his usual activities. Consult with your doctor on some activities that are safe for your child and how to provide the best security facilities for the kid, so you can not only forbid children to play and get panic.