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Growing Up at Home: How To Make Home Conducive for Holistic Development

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Mar 24

    Growing Up at Home: How To Make Home Conducive for Holistic Development

    The COVID-19 pandemic has forced families around the world to change how they live their everyday lives. Children, in particular, have been greatly impacted. Unable to physically go to school or visit family and friends, the world for many children has shrunk to the confines of their homes. A challenge for parents has been keeping their children’s holistic development on track during this period of new normal education. What is holistic education and what are its benefits for your child? How can you support your child’s holistic development?

    What Is Holistic Development and Why Is It Important?

    The holistic development of a child1 includes their physical, emotional, social and psychological growth and well-being. In other words, it places importance on educating and developing the whole child, beyond just academics.

    The benefits of holistic development for children include increased confidence and self-awareness; enhanced physical health and abilities; improved communication, language and logical reasoning abilities; and better socio-emotional and critical thinking skills. A child whose holistic development is encouraged will also have the potential to have a healthy EQ (emotional quotient) which, when balanced with intellectual abilities (represented by IQ) will help your child be more successful in life.

    With children growing at home for over a year now, how can parents foster a conducive environment for their little ones’ holistic development?

    How To Support Physical Development at Home

    The pandemic has had a big impact on children’s physical development and health2 including reduced levels of physical activity and disruptions to sleep due to being at home all day. Watching TV or viewing videos and games on a device might keep a restless toddler or preschooler occupied. But it also means they are immobile for long periods of time.

    You can support your child’s physical development at home in the following ways:

    • Toddlers and preschoolers should ideally get around three hours of physical activity of varying levels, spread across the day3. While it might not be possible to achieve this at home, what’s important is that they get some amount of movement. Play their favourite songs and encourage them to dance along. Place objects in safe locations around the house for a “treasure hunt”. And if you have no option but to give them a device to keep them occupied, try playing videos that encourage movement.Older children can be encouraged to exercise at home, for example, jumping jacks and skipping. If they’re learning online, they should be reminded to take regular screen breaks.
    • Your child should get enough sleep. Toddlers and preschoolers need 10-14 hours of sleep a day, including naps. Children aged six to twelve, nine to twelve hours, and teenagers need eight to thirteen hours of sleep4.
    • Good nutrition is essential for physical development including boosting immunity. Avoid take-out and junk food as much as possible and encourage your child to stay adequately hydrated every day.

    How To Support Intellectual Development

    Learning does not have to be confined to the four walls of a classroom, or a screen. There are many fun and creative ways parents can support their child’s cognitive development while at home.

    • Critical thinking is a crucial component of a child’s intellectual and holistic development. A good way to nurture this skill is simply by reading to and with them. As you read, or once the story is over, ask your child questions that get them thinking. For example, “Why do you think the character was sad?” or “How would you end the story?”
    • Provide your child with STEAM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Arts, Maths) toys, like building blocks, puzzles, and art and craft activities. These encourage problem-solving, creativity, fine motor skill development, spatial awareness, patience, and focus.
    • Science and maths can be made fun and taught through everyday activities, like planting a seed or asking your child to count steps, fruits, or anything you can find at home!

    How To Support Emotional Development

    EQ (emotional quotient) is thought to be as, or even more important than IQ (intelligence quotient) as a predictor of success in life5. EQ is the measure of a person’s emotional intelligence (EI). This is the ability to identify, understand, and manage your own and others’ emotions. High EQ skills help to empower your child with qualities like calmness, patience, empathy, insightfulness, concentration, and confidence. You too can nurture your child’s emotional development at home by following these simple steps6:

    • Be aware of your child’s emotions: By understanding why your toddler is throwing a tantrum, you can prevent or manage these outbursts better.
    • Bond with your child when they’re going through strong emotions: Celebrate your child’s happiness and comfort them when they’re sad, solidifying your bond and teaching your child that they can feel safe expressing their feelings to you.
    • Validate your child’s feelings: Don’t ignore your child’s emotions. Instead, listen to the expression of what they’re feeling and show them that you understand and care. Label those feelings at the same time so that your child learns what they are and how they’re supposed to feel.
    • Help your child problem-solve: Frustration can lead to angry outbursts in a child. Teach them how to find solutions to these issues and avoid meltdowns.

    How To Support Social Development

    When confined at home during the pandemic, children are naturally deprived of their social connections like school friends, neighbors, and cousins. You can make use of technology to enable these connections and support your child’s social development in the process.

    • Dedicate time for your child to communicate with loved ones, like grandparents, cousins, and friends. This could be through a video call or a regular phone call.
    • Help your child communicate with friends and family the old-fashioned way – through writing letters and cards. These activities also help develop your child’s literacy and writing skills. If your child cannot write yet, then they could create paintings or art and crafts which you could mail to loved ones.

    Learn more about developing a child’s EQ here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


    Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Mar 24

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