“Take Time” is Fife’s campaign to inspire and encourage parents to give their child the best start in life. By taking more time to interact with their children through activities such as cuddling, playing, chatting and reading, parents and families can play a big part in child development. The campaign’s family approach as well as professional support, aims to help crucial aspects of a child’s development namely:
- Physical wellbeing
- Healthy eating
Fife Council is investing £7.8 million over the next three years into organisations which support families in Fife. The Fife Early Years Collaborative (FEYC), supported by the Scottish Government, has been set up to improve services for children and families in the early years, by working together to share information, good practice and ideas.
Our Take Time Campaign has six key themes which are rolling out over the next year.
For A Cuddle
The Power of the Cuddle
The simple act of cuddling can have real physical and mental health benefits. Scientific evidence shows that children and their parents can achieve long term health benefits through an increase in a hormone called oxytocin – the “Cuddle Chemical”.
Oxytocin - helps reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Cuddling is a positive childhood experience which gives children security, attention and love which can help make them emotionally stronger as they grow up. The evidence suggests that a contented childhood makes for a more contented adult who is less likely to suffer ill health.
We know life can be hectic but try taking time out once in a while. A cuddle really can have long term beneficial effects on you and your children.
Play is fun and an important part of childhood. Through playing children explore and make sense of the world they live in. Play can take place indoors or outdoors, at home, at school or in the wider community.
One of the main benefits for children is from them choosing and doing it themselves. This helps to develop and encourage self esteem and confidence, improves thinking skills and negotiation, develops social and communication skills and enhances creativity as well as encouraging children to take risks and overcome obstacles. The value of play for children’s brain development, and in developing language and literacy, cannot be underestimated.
Children also have the right to play and this is set out in Article 31 of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.
Playing along with children is also important as it helps to strengthen family bonds through enjoying time together. Parents are important role models for play and playing together with your child encourages them to become more active and lead a healthier lifestyle. Through playing they learn to form attachments and relationships are enhanced.
Outdoor play provides children with physical and mental health benefits. Being outdoors provides children with space and allows children to understand and connect with nature. Stimulating, adventurous and challenging play environments allow children to test themselves and develop their abilities.
Did you know exploring is one of the first steps in learning about objects and in learning how to solve problems? Children are fascinated about how things work, what they look like from the inside, and how they are made. Take Time to Explore is the third of our six Take Time Campaign themes.
Small changes can make big differences to a child’s development and lifelong wellbeing. and Our campaign aims to raise awareness of the positive things parents can do for their children which have a significant impact on their future life chances.
Exploring is vital to a child’s development and aids skills like pulling up, standing, problem solving, learning new words, and sparks the imagination. Doing activities together can create shared experiences and learning which lasts a lifetime.
“Take Time to Explore is about trying new things such as going to a beach or park you’ve never visited before. Or if it’s raining, which it often is in Scotland, putting on some music in the house and simply having fun.
Sounds simple but we know the pace of modern life is hectic. Fife Direct holds a wealth of information on services and activities to help little ones flourish.
Explore Ideas - Surf the Web. Take Time to explore our new www.fifedirect.org.uk/families website for ideas, tips and contacts. Check out Facebook and Twitter as there are lots of ways for you to connect with what’s going on in Fife for families.
Explore the Great Outdoors. Studies have found that children play more creatively in natural spaces. Playing outside is especially important for supporting physical activity, problem-solving and co-operation.
Indoor Explorers. Fife’s libraries, galleries and museums are great for exploring and our pools and leisure centres will keep kids active. At home families can play games like hide and seek, make dens with a sheet, dance along to music, bake or draw.
To Eat Well
Watch out for more on this theme over the coming months
For A Story
We all know stories can create magic and wonder, but did you know telling stories also gives your child a head-start in life?
Not only is story telling fun, but it develops vocabulary, boosts brain activity and helps create a great bond between you and your child. By taking time for a story, you can play a big part in your child’s development.
We have dozens of activity ideas to inspire you to take time for a story with your child, whether it’s creating your own story with arts and crafts, or fitting in a bed-time tale when time is tight. Our Take Time for a Story campaign aims to raise awareness of the positive things parents and carers can do for their children which can make a big difference to their future. Reading nursery rhymes, singing and telling stories to your child has huge benefits, and is vital for language development when your child is in their early years – did you know by age three 50% of our language is already in place?
You can get hints, tips and advice on telling stories below and on our Facebook page, and you'll find activities to do every day on our Story Time Calendar – a great challenge for December – or any other month!
Finally, your child will have even more fun if you try these activities in a quiet space, so remember, turn off TVs and phones. Be face to face so you can see each other’s facial expressions and use an interesting and tuneful voice to help your child listen. If you pause and wait while reading ,your child might join in with a sound, action or word. Have fun!
Here’s what children’s author, Chae Strathie, thinks: "It's hard to think of a more special time in a child's day than the shared, loving moments of togetherness that telling a story provide. Stories bring people together and increase the bond between parent and child in a way that can only improve your little one's life.
"Whether through reading a favourite book, making up a fun adventure or even telling your child a true story from your own life, youngsters love parents or carers sharing in this way. And it's not just the child who benefits. Connecting with your child in a warm and calm way, especially at bedtime, can give the adult as much of an emotional sense of well-being as the child.”
And Fife crime-writer and best-selling author Val McDermid is also backing the campaign: “My mum took time to tell me tales, to take me to the library, to snuggle up and share stories. And that's how I ended up becoming a storyteller myself. Taking time shapes our futures in ways we don't expect.”
Find the Story Time Calendar on the Fife Families homepage
Boost your own reading and writing skills – find out more here
To find your nearest Bookbug session, or other activities going on in your area, visit our activities page
Watch out for more on this theme over the coming months