Watching TV and videos are not the ideal way to spend time in childhood. Many studies indicate the problems that arise when parents do not control the content and the time that children are watching TV or play on the iPad.
However, you might be surprised to know that a child, older than 3 years, can learn many skills by watching targeted videos.
Personally, I observed a shy child one day – she was watching a children’s program. This girl was lying on the coach and I thought: “Just like they say – the child is lying instead of moving!” BUT the next moment this shy little girl got up and when the exercises were repeated for the second time she joined in – fully focused on the models on the TV. And not aware that I was watching her. She was not shy, she was fully aware of her body, her movements and she was doing her best to copy the model.
Videos can encourage participation
I must add – these were age appropriate exercises which she could successfully complete. But how amazing – the exercise video encouraged her to move and to participate. She did not have to follow a real-life person who can judge and correct – she followed the model and could fully engulf herself in the exercises.
I have read many research articles on the benefit of exercise and on the benefit of video recordings to help especially the ASD population to learn skills. The ASD population is known to learn and to understand visual images far better than verbal communication, e.g. verbal instructions. This means that a child with autism will follow a video about a specific topic but might not follow a story or lecture on the same topic.
Learn and exercise by watching videos
My research also highlighted articles on how adults and children learn when they watch videos. One study used two adult groups. The groups were assessed on fine motor skills, scissor skills and hand coordination on the beginning and the end of the study. They also underwent MRI scans to look for changes in the brain before and after completing the study.
Both groups were involved in training for 40 minutes, 5 times per week for 2 weeks.
Group 1 watched videos of activities such as writing, cutting with scissors and after they were asked to mimic the same actions.
Group 2 watched videos of landscapes in this time and were then asked to perform the same activities as Group 1.
The findings indicate that Group 1, who watched the videos of the activities, had far greater improvements than Group 2, who only performed the activities.
The researchers found that the adult brain can learn by watching an activity. They also indicate that if watching activity videos can boost an adult’s brain power, we might find similar results in children.
Imitation is vital in a child’s development and children learn from imitation.
There are 3 ways to learn motor skills. For example: You want to teach your child to use a knife and fork. The 3 ways that you can use to teach this task are:
- The child learns by watching and imitating, e.g. your child watch how you are using a knife and fork when you spend meals together
- The child learns by hands-over movements, e.g. the child holds the knife and fork and you put your hands over to move the child’s hands.
- Accidental learning, e.g. you give your child a knife and fork but do not show your child what to do with it.
The first 2 are effective ways to teach a new skill. The 3rd is not effective and although your child might master the skill, it will probably not be performed in the desired way.
CoordiKids addresses the underlying issues of executive functioning, memory, dominancy, spelling and general learning.
Videos are easy to follow and to imitate. It leaves your hands free to support, to help with hand-over movements and to join in.