The habits you allow your children to form, the lifestyle you lead and the overall attention you give your child each day all affect their childhood development. By the time children enter kindergarten, they’ve developed 90 percent of their brains. With nearly full-grown brains, these children are ready to learn.
But not so fast because big brains don’t necessarily mean big success. Throughout those first five years of life, your little one is learning habits and forming opinions about learning. It’s important that parents take this time to cultivate a love of learning and mental discipline with children.
There are some critical success factors for childhood development that parents should pay close attention to.
- Have regular, meaningful interactions Children start learning from their experiences starting the moment they are born. The interactions that they experience with parents and other caregivers is crucial to their development. Your child needs regular stimulation through interactions with you and other individuals.This starts with giving your child time. As children build relationships with people, they learn to trust those individuals and be themselves when in your presence. Relationships might be the most important aspect of your child’s development.Through seeing how you react to things, children learn appropriate reactions. Your reactions include everything from cheering when they build their first tower of blocks to shaking your head to affirm their actions.You’ll also find that this is one of the reasons that child-to-teacher ratios are tightly controlled within childcare settings. Because children need regular and meaningful adult interactions, you should pay attention to the child-to-teacher ratio at your childcare.
- Do chores around the house Children who do chores around the house learn discipline and that they must contribute in some way. Additionally, doing chores might help children learn how to collaborate with others in a group to be even more successful in life.You’ll also find that children who do chores are more empathetic to people when they are struggling. That’s because your child then understands what hard work is like and why it matters.You can start having your children do chores from a young age, such as restoring the toilet paper roll when it runs out and making their beds. Invite your little ones to help in the kitchen during dinner preparations. Allow them to stir the food from a safe distance of anything hot and explain the various phases of food preparation. The more you explain everyday activities, the more your children learn and develop.Routines help children grow and develop in a safe environment. Children thrive on routine and it helps them keep their stress levels low so that they are open to learning.
- Control your own stress levels Children that grow up in an environment where their parents are always stressed and irritable experience slower development. It’s called emotional contagion and is the concept that your stress rubs off onto your child.The happier and more carefree you are, the more your child will also experience these emotions. And when they are happy and carefree, they are more likely to explore and learn, aiding in their childhood development.
- Encourage your child When you encourage your child to put in effort without worrying about what might happen if they fail, you encourage children to try new things. Children who feel comfortable exploring and experimenting will develop their minds through play and trial and error.But to instill this in your child, you have to be more of a coach, offering tips and tricks when your child is struggling instead of scolding. This takes time to learn because your instinct is likely to be that of correction instead of coaching.And when you coach your children instead of instructing them, you teach them to be problem solvers and resourceful. These are crucial skills for later in life that you can’t teach them from a textbook.
- Be a role model If you want your child to be someone who works to solve problems and be successful, you should also do those things. Children with parents who hold advanced degrees are more likely to continue their education. Plus, children with parents who work outside the home are more likely to do chores at a young age and to be successful.That’s because you’re showing them how to be successful at a young age when their brains are still developing. If you wait until later in life to discuss hard work with your children, you might miss the opportunity window because they’ve already shaped their own thoughts and opinions on the matter from seeing the world around them. In your role modeling, you should show your child what true grit is. If you’re more likely to give up on something early on in the process, they will do the same when faced with challenges. Be thoughtful in how you rise to meet challenges in your daily life so that they will do the same.
- Never talk down to a child When a child asks how something works or tries to grasp a social situation, explain it in detail. Use words that the child will understand, but don’t water it down. Be descriptive to help them grow in their understanding. Parents and caregivers are challenged with getting tons of questions from young children every day. And, many of those questions are probably questions you’ve answered before. It’s easy to just say “we’ve talked about this” and move on but that doesn’t help a child’s development. Your child is working to understand the complex world around them. They legitimately need to be told everything there is to know about the world, which means you'll do lots of explaining. Do your best to talk to children throughout your activities starting as young as infant hood. Tell your baby about how you change their diaper, prepare a bottle or swaddle them for nap-time. Creating this habit from a young age will help you to make connections for your children throughout their toddler years and beyond. This promotes speech development and will be an asset to their vocabulary.