How to give your child the best Opportunities for Success
From the What Every Parent Needs to Know set of talks and materials
From birth there are many positive practises you can begin from the start, things you can introduce to support your child’s ongoing development. And through the choices you make, the interactions you enjoy together and the ways you care for and play with your child, know that you are preparing them for life.
What may seem only a slight or hardly considered change in our behaviour can have a staggering impact on your child. Especially when you view them over the long-term.
But are you aware of just how far back the impact of the choices take effect. And just how early positive choices start to have a positive effect?
- Did you know, for example, that whether your child can sit at a school desk without fidgeting and with enough comfort to concentrate on the lesson began with the ‘tummy time’ they received as a baby?
- That their vocabulary on starting school depends on how many words they heard from the day they were born?
- And that how easy they find learning to read and spell depends on the moments of quietness they have early on. As it is these through these moments that children learn to hear subtle differences in sound.
It’s the small yet significant differences that can have significant long-term impact – from day one. And continue to have an impact for generations to come!
So, support your child’s language by talking to them – a lot! You should also surround them with language from the first time you meet them. And know that with every word they hear, you are impacting their social skills, their vocabulary, and their ability to connect.
You can support your child’s communication by actively hearing them. But this means listening to them as they discover their thoughts and feelings. Even when this is through babble. When you do this, you are showing them that they are worthy of being heard. And if you can also avoid screens until they are two, you can develop their communication through the essential two-way exchanges that are needed. Something that screens cannot offer – but do detract away from.
You can also support your child’s physical development by avoiding keeping them “strapped in” for any longer than necessary. Do this by giving yourself the extra time you need, and leave the pushchair at home when you can. This gives them opportunities to feel what their growing bodies can do as they strengthen their muscles and bones. As well as stimulating their minds as they explore everything of interest. Like I said, give yourself some extra time! You should also give your baby “Tummy Time” from the first months of life, with lots of opportunities to touch, manipulate and explore.
As you look to support your child socially and emotionally, give them frequent opportunities to interact and play with others. And as you do, model behaviours of engaging and sharing with them.
And give them time to just be…
Children need opportunities to experience stillness and moments of centred well-being. So, allow time for magic and imagination, spending time in nature, singing nursery rhymes and playing silly games. Spend time in your local park, take walks in the neighbourhood, or enjoy visits around your community.
Make reading to your child a special time for the two of you every day, from the time they are born! Picture books with bright images will keep your baby entranced while rhyme and rhythm in a book they can touch and manipulate will keep your toddler enthralled.
Your child is perfecting their abilities, learning how to think, to process information and behave appropriately. This takes their whole childhood, so avoid rushing this vital development, or accelerating to the next stage.
Marvel in these early years and take the time to lay the foundations and positive practises you can begin from the start that are essential for all the years to come.
Dr Kathryn Peckham is an Early Childhood Consultant, author and researcher and the founder of Nurturing Childhoods. Providing all the knowledge, understanding and support you need to nurture your growing child. www.nurturingchildhoods.co.uk
DEVELOPING EVERY CHILD’S POTENTIAL