Parents as Teachers: Every Parent Can Be a Child’s First and Best Teacher

In this day of institutions and daycares, it’s vital to develop good habits with your child as soon as possible. Most of us understand that the first five or six years of a child’s life are the most formative in all ways, and parents have the privilege and responsibility to stimulate and shape the learning experiences more than anyone else. It seems logical, then, that parents be informed and educated in simple ways and methods that will encourage maximum healthy cognitive growth and development in their child. Here are three simple areas that parents can explore, develop, and enjoy with their child.
The first skill for parents is to learn how to observe (listen and watch) your child impartially. We all want the best for our child, but we must also be on the lookout for issues or problems. Unreasonable or uneducated expectations can cloud our observations as well as our child’s growth, but encouraging observation benefits both parent and child. The child is aware of the parent’s presence, attention, and acceptance even if the parent is not actively interacting with the child’s playtime. Parents need to take some time to observe their child keeping in mind the accepted developmental stages which can be retrieved from any pediatrician. Is my child learning, growing, and exploring his or her world? Is my child relating to the world?

Secondly, parents need special time with each child to interact individually. This also encourages growth in both the child and the parent. Plan specific activities geared to your child’s age and developmental stage and engage your child emotionally and cognitively. Remember playtime for any age child can be a fun and educational process simultaneously. One of the most adaptable activities is a “Build-a-story” game. The parent can start a story, “Once upon a time, there lived a __________ ” and the child takes over. Parent and child take turns adding content to the story. This activity can begin as soon as the child can string words together. Parents, these stories don’t have to make sense to you. Indulge your imaginations and creativity. Few activities can stimulate a child’s cognitive development more than telling or reading a story. Don’t be put-off by repetitive requests for the same story. Feel free to change a few details here and there to gauge your child’s response. The point is to interact with your child as an individual. CONTINUE READING

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