When you have a baby or toddler, their education might not be the first thing on your mind. You are distracted by the huge change in your life, as well as the task of simply keeping your child alive and happy, let alone throwing education into the mix.
However, children start learning at an incredibly young age. Studies show that you can even teach your child when they are still in the womb, as their brains are already developing rapidly. Early education involves keeping in touch with this early brain development and helping your child to learn more effectively.
The Earliest Education
When it comes to very young children, education and stimulation come hand in hand. From pregnancy onwards, each experience will add to your baby’s development. When you are pregnant, your baby will feel sensations. They will hear sounds and even remember tastes after they are born.
By constantly speaking to and reading to your child in the womb, you can get them accustomed to the sound of your voice. You can also sing to them, listen to music, and introduce them to new foods. Eat as varied a diet as you can, not just to keep things interesting for you, but to keep them interesting for your child.
After your child is born, keep up these good habits. No, a baby cannot talk back for a while, but the more you interact with and speak to your child, the quicker they will learn to understand language. However, if they age and you notice delays in their speech or some communication disorders, they should receive speech therapy for toddlers to help them with their communication skills.
If you have a bilingual family, then expose your child to both languages. Some parents fear that doing this will confuse the child and slow their speech, but any slight delay is more than outweighed by the benefits. At this age, children learn languages rapidly.
Give them new experiences whenever you can. Yes, your six-month-old is not going to remember everything, but every stimulus helps their brain to develop. Resist the temptation to stick them in front of a device and leave them to technology, but use puzzles and educational toys to entertain and educate your child.
Teaching Your Child To Socialize
Even before your child can speak, you should also be exposing them to people outside of your immediate family. If you have other children or animals, then this can help your child to understand how to interact with different people.
Pets are a wonderful part of a child’s life and can help them to develop their social skills and teach them how to be gentle. However, leaving a young child alone with any pet can be dangerous for both parties. If your child keeps hitting or trying to hurt the pet, then protect both of them. Even a patient pet can bite if pushed too far, and it is not fair to risk a small animal getting hurt.
The most important thing, however, is to teach your child to socialize with different people. If you have friends or family with children of a similar age, then arrange play groups and allow your child to spend time with and play with other kids. This can be vital for their development and may help them to form lifelong friendships.
As well as encouraging your child to spend time with other children, you should also help them to socialize with other adults of all ages and different backgrounds. This ensures that they have a well-rounded social education.
Once your child learns to talk, then encourage them to have conversations with you and other people. The more they practice, the more they can learn. Now that they have a voice, you can also pick up on their interests and desires more so than before, so teach them how to use their voice to ask for things they want and healthily express themselves.
As many parents come to realize, your child’s education begins well before they start formal education at school. When your child reaches a certain age, you may enroll them in preschool. This gives them a huge boost in their ability to socialize, as they have to spend time with several children that they do not know and learn how to interact with them in a group setting.
The preschool teacher will also start to educate and entertain the children. This does not just teach them certain skills, but it helps them to get used to a school environment where they are expected to learn in a group and keep up with the rest of the class.
True, preschool education is nowhere near as formalized as it is in school. The important things that the children learn are more on a social level, such as how to speak to other children and authority figures who are not their parents.
Preschool also is not an excuse for parents to pass over the education of their children to another person. Every child develops at a different rate and you may find that they pick up some things more quickly in a preschool setting.
However, it is still up to you to build on their education and, in some respects, take on the larger share of their learning. The more they learn early, the more of a headstart they will have and the easier things will be. Teach them how to read and write using pattern block letters, and enrich their education by teaching them art and music.
Keeping Up Good Habits
If you decide to home-educate your child, then you will continue the habits that you picked up as your child continues to grow up. True, the lessons will become more focused and formal, but it is far easier to continue training and teaching your child as you are used to it.
However, most children will eventually go to school and the lion’s share of their education will be handled by teachers. This does not mean that parents are off the hook, however. It is still good to keep up with the habit of teaching your child.
You can do this by helping them with their schoolwork, but it is also beneficial to teach them about non-academic things. Teach your children practical skills, such as how to cook and clean, and keep up that good relationship.