A child’s brain starts to develop long before they are born and continues to rapidly advance within the first several years of their life, making it the best time for parents to structure a home environment that instills learning and acknowledges the child’s role and purpose for learning. While parents assume many-faceted roles performing as a child’s caretaker, the majority – without realizing – are the most influential teachers their child will ever have.
Before children begin school, parents are a child’s primary educator, instructing the ABCs and 123’s. And, as children evolve into students and as more complex subjects are introduced and taught by schools, most parents will adopt the role as manager to ensure their child completes all assignments and arrives at school on time.
Related – Parent Involvement Matters
As a parent, it is crucial to enforce the value of schooling upon a child with a constructive attitude that is not too overwhelming, but makes learning manageable and enjoyable. The value, attitude and extent of involvement a parent exerts towards their child’s education influences how he or she thinks and how they perceive learning.
One of the most effective types of parent involvement is through at-home activities that include and connect children to the greater community. To assist in helping children comprehend the relation between what is taught in school and the world today, parents should consider taking a few minutes each day and make educational interactions with their children such as incorporating real-life educational activities outside of school hours. In doing so, parents can encourage their child to find their voice and confidence in the classroom, and will help instill a love of learning in their child that is tailored to their individual learning and success.
Below are a number of activities parents can practice at home with their child that will contribute to improving vocabulary, interactive and critical thinking abilities:
While you are out at the grocery store explain to your child how fruits and vegetables are sold by weight. Show them how to weigh the items you select and, prior to putting the item(s) on the scale, ask your child to estimate the weight. Then have your child estimate the number of items that would need to be either added or removed to have a total of one pound.
If your child has finished their homework and wants to watch one of their favourite programs and idea, to help develop your child’s reading skills, would be to turn on the program’s closed captioning and get your child to ready along while watching and listening.
Take a comic strip, or picture book with words, and cut each of the panels, removing the words as well. Lay out the pictures and words on the table or floor in front of your child and have them put the drawings in order, filling in the words for the characters.
If you have some empty bottles at home line five to six of them up along a table, or on the floor, and ask your child to put different amounts of water in each bottle. Blow on the rims of each bottle to see what sounds they make, and then get your child to arrange the bottles from highest to lowest pitch.
Fill your child’s environment with learning tools, but don’t overdo it. Drilling too much information into a child can be too demanding and can hinder their ability to assume effective study skills. As a parent, it is your goal to not be a pestering teacher, but an enabler who makes your child feel empowered to be a self-willed learner.
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Author: Leanne Cameron