Early childhood development is a critical period and sets the foundation for lifelong learning, social behaviours, and problem-solving or coping mechanisms. The environment they are in and stimuli they are exposed to will either boost or inhibit their acquiring skills and habits for academic pursuits and healthy relationships. Parental involvement plays a key role in early childhood development. More than 50 studies conducted indicate that children with more involved parents demonstrate higher grades, self-confidence, and discipline.
There are 5 main domains of development that parents could greatly influence:
Children develop the basis for their cognitive function by the age of 4. Given how important early childhood education is, it might be worth it for parents to be more knowledgeable about early childhood education.
Here are some tips on how you can help set your child on the better path for lifelong learning.
Social and Emotional Development
Kids absorb enormous amounts of information from observing the behaviours of those around them. It is important that parents be aware of not only what they say or do to their child but also how they treat others especially in front of the child. Healthy social and emotional habits start with the young’s ability to self-regulate his/her emotion. By the age of 4 or 5, a child will have established baseline regulatory systems to situationally adapt their emotions and reactions. Introducing make-believe games (e.g., playing a character using dolls) and watching the role-playing will help parents see what behaviours
An effective way to help a child develop emotional intelligence is by allowing them to interact with other children early. Learning how to share, communicate their thoughts/intentions, deal with conflict, and react to their emotions in social settings can be achieved by early exposure. Consistency in approach is key. They have to learn the same lessons (such as using words instead of physical violence or outbursts) over and over again for them to cement in their brain. Allowing children to express their emotions freely yet not giving into their emotional outbursts (no matter how strong and painful) will help them develop healthier communication and social habits.
Language and Cognitive Development
Children develop a sophisticated level of cognitive understanding from a very early age. According to studies, an infant can formulate an intuitive analysis of the statistical regularities in the speech patterns they often hear to construct their own language patterns. Helping your child’s language development involves various techniques. What you’re actually trying to teach is how to communicate using both verbal, written, and body language. When they are young, you should try to mirror what your baby does. If they laugh or make a facial expression, play it back to them.
You should also try to have your child mirror what you do and say. Repeating back what your child says and expanding on it is a good strategy. So if your child points to juice, you could say, “You want juice? This juice is purple. It’s the same colour as your toy. It’s purple because this one is grape juice. Do you want to drink grape juice?” Narrating as you drive or clean the house can help your child articulate what they see, do or feel. The more they hear you describe the world around you, the more they will pay attention to observing and articulating the world around them. When telling stories, instead of just focusing on the characters or the plot, focus on describing the physical characteristics of the characters or the drawings in the book.
Play is critical for a child’s cognitive development. You have to enable your child to think, comprehend, communicate, remember, and imagine on their own. For instance, playing a ‘spotting’ game in public and having your child remember how many greens shirts he/she’s seen will help the child flex many cognitive muscles. Memory games, jigsaw puzzles, riddles, and stacking games are all great tools for cognitive development. Having your child imagine what could happen next based on the information they were given is critical. Let your child take the lead and help them add their own imaginative input into the story.
Healthy physical development involves using their fine motor and gross motor skills. Fine motor skills are small movements using fingers, hands, and lips. Gross motor skills include using bigger muscles to move their heads, sit, crawl, and jump. Use blocks to encourage your child to build a tower, play a game where you roll or throw things back and forth, and use a wagon to help your child explore things around them while on the move. arts and crafts using various materials (and have them feel the texture) is also useful.
Frequent and repetitive movements such as dancing to rhythmic songs allows children to strengthen their gross motor skills. When they fall or trip, show them how they could’ve avoided tripping by hopping or skipping. You need to show them how they can quickly scan their environment to determine the best motor skills to use to get them to the destination without getting hurt.