There’s a reason many people say that a child’s younger years are the most important ones. It’s a period known as the “formative” years. Early childhood is when kids learn skills such as language, cognition, and control over their bodies and emotions. Therefore it’s crucial that babies and toddlers feel love and support during this time. While there are many ways to help your child, these 5 tips are essentials to give your child the best start in life.
Some parents send their children to childcare because they want or need to go back to work. Others choose to keep them at home to spend as much time with their child as possible. While both are valid choices, sending your little one to a childcare centre at least once a week can be extremely beneficial for their development. The primary reason is it helps them develop critical social skills. A good ELC can also accelerate your child’s cognitive learning and help both them and you as a parent prepare for school.
Reading has been proven to have many benefits for everyone. However, it is most important for small children. Kids who learn to read early excel at school, exhibit enhanced creativity, experience higher levels of parental bonding and have a safe, fun pastime to both engage and entertain them. You’re on the path to ensuring your little one has the best start in life.
It is also vital to teach your child non-academic skills. That’s not to say that you should have them running around cleaning the house all day or hand them some cookware and set them loose in the kitchen. But most children are naturally curious about what their parents are doing, so let them watch while you cook dinner or tidy the house.
Then, gradually allow them to assist with small house tasks and build up from there. Encourage them to clean up their toys and explain to them why all the everyday things we do are essential skills.
Time together with family is perhaps one of the best things you can do to give your child the best start in life. Kids that grow up in a loving, supportive environment not only enjoy better relationships with parents and siblings but are also better adjusted to deal with stress and other negative experiences later in life.
Spending quality time with them while they’re young can also help them develop critical trust and communication skills. These things will be crucial in helping you all navigate the challenges of adolescence. Teenagers who feel they can communicate openly with parents who value them as responsible, autonomous individuals are less likely to rebel.
Screen time is a divisive topic with sound arguments on both sides. There are many educational programs and apps available that substantially contribute to intellectual and motor development. Additionally, children need time to relax and unwind; electronic media can be an excellent way for them to do so.
However, it’s important not to fall into the trap of letting young minds depend on electronic devices to fulfill any of their needs. As with eating sweets, balance is essential. Set healthy, reasonable boundaries around the amount of time that children can spend with screens. And monitor the content that they can consume on the devices. You’ll have to make the all-important decision too about what age to buy them their first smartphone.
A caring parent wants their child to have the best start in life. And by implementing these tips, you’ll be well on your way to succeeding at it. Remember to trust your instincts about what feels right for you and your child.
In theory you bring up good points. In practice, however, childcare is expensive and family time is hard to work in if one or both parents need to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. I don’t have suggestions on how to work around those challenges, as I am neither economically disadvantaged nor a parent, but hopefully what I’m saying gives you something to think about.
Often, when discussion “where are your kids now” with friends and acquaintances I get the question: what did you do to raise such successful children. In essences, the 5 steps above – although, we did not have “screens” for our kids. We had a TV but only the most basic of cable package (read early to mid 90’s) and did not have a flat screen until 2005. Kids watched a LOT of PBS and loved wishbone (so when they got to English class later in life, they had context for the classics, a nice byproduct).
By far, the most important of the items above, was reading to our kids. This translated into being able to sound out words and a strong vocabulary (just normal, not anything special, just exposure to words) prior to entering K.
I would add to this list – well rounded in life to include participation in activities and sports without the undue pressure of working toward a college scholarship beginning at age 6.
Love all these! I’m in the education field and I’ve often thought, gee, if EVERY parent knew this, if EVERY parent read to their kids and helped them develop both independent skills, as well as social skills, the world would have more kiddos who are well-adjusted to the ups and downs of life. Great post!
Christy, great advice! We try as a family to do all the things you mentioned. Also, we try to find time to do some fun projects (crafts, DIYs) together, especially now that Christmas is coming! After all, it is the best time of the year :-)
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