The first 5 years of a child’s life are years of incredible development and change. Make the most of it!
Each child is born with enormous potential and possibilities, says Lauren Stretch, a PE-based educational psychologist, and it is our duty to help them grow and flourish and ignite the power that is within them. This power is what will truly empower and equip them.
Although each child is born with their own capacity and intelligence, the circumstances and situations into which one is born plays a vital role in the child’s development. The role that parents play in their child’s development is enormous and has great implications on the child in his totality, including the cognitive, physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of development.
It's important to start very young. Early intervention allows young children to develop an understanding of basic foundational concepts, making future learning easier.
In order to be effective teachers, we need to understand children’s thought patterns and develop an interactive process between parent and child, which enhances the child’s understanding and development.
Here are a few ways in which you can help your toddler to develop intellectually and emotionally.
Constantly encourage your children
Being consistent and loving, yet firm at the same time. It is vital to be constantly empowering your children, speaking words of love. Your child is desperate for your attention and knows that if he does something wrong, you'll give him attention – even if its ‘bad’ attention, it's attention.
So rather focus on positive re-enforcement, and your child will realise that the attention he gets when he behaves is much more rewarding than when he misbehaves.
Your child’s time at home needs to be structured and monitored. Child cannot merely be left in front of the television all day, they need to have boundaries and set times for activities, while also allowing time for freedom, exploration and discovery. Children thrive off structure, order and discipline. They like to know what is happening next – it makes them feel secure and safe.
Stimulate your child
Spend time stimulating your child’s intellectual development, communicate with him, count, tell stories, talk about general knowledge and things in the world around us. By the time your child turns 5, he already knows 90% of what he will ever know, his values, norms and beliefs have been structured and he is able to understand a great deal!
Spend time with your child
It is imperative to set time aside each day to spend with your child. He needs to have individualised quality time, where he can communicate with you, where you can develop an understanding with each other, where you can empower him, speak into his life and understand his feelings.
Children desperately need guidance and support. They need to be assured that they are on the right track, that their parents are proud of their achievements, and are interested in their well being.
A fundamental foundation of cognitive development and future academic success is the child developing a love and desire for reading. Reading in the home should be seen as a fun activity that children and parents both enjoy.
The time that you spend reading with your child is not only enhancing their intellectual development, but forming love bonds and strengthening your relationship.
The most important thing that you can do as a parent, is to merely love your child – show him how much you care by giving him your best – your attention, your time, your heart!
For more info on early intervention visit www.earlyinspiration.co.za or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.