How to Plant and Nurture the Seeds of Knowledge in Children
You care about your child's education, right? Of course you do. There's a whole industry that knows it. It caters for the desire of parents to get the very best for their child's educational development.
You don't need to hire a special tutor or spend a fortune on DVDs, CDs and flashcards to help your children grow their mind though.
In truth, the whole world is a classroom. There are all kinds of things you can do to help nurture the seeds of knowledge in your child.
Create a Safe Learning Environment
The world of your child should be a safe place for learning and growing. Children feel the moods and emotions of their parents, says Sandra Rief, M.A., author of Ready Start School: Nurturing and Guiding Your Child Through Preschool and Kindergarten. A child's world should be free of stress, anxiety and adult problems. The best environment for your child is a calm and safe environment.
Learn From the World Around You
Learning doesn't just happen in a classroom. Learning happens everywhere. Wherever you go, there is an opportunity for learning.
Children are naturally curious and have an in-built desire to learn. Children want to make sense of things, discover how things work and gain control of their environment. They learn from first-hand experience. So, let them experience the world.
- Take a trip to the shops. Make comparisons between things you see. Which is bigger? Which is more expensive? Which is brighter? Which looks more delicious?
- Go on a nature trail. Let your child see and experience nature. Go on a nature trail together. Let them see plants, flowers and wildlife close-up. The real thing is always more thrilling than a picture book.
- Cook together. The kitchen provides all kinds of opportunities for learning. You can weigh ingredients, notice the colour of things, arrange things into groups.
- Count everything. Fingers, toys, teddies, buttons, boxes, cars. Let's face it, it's a big world and there are lot of things to count.
- Tidy together. Doing the household chores can be educational. Picking up toys can provide lessons in colour identifiication, sorting and pattern formation.
Learn about Language
Children acquire language by hearing it from others. Talk to your child often. Ask them questions, describe things. Children are like sponges. They soak up everything.
Books, of course, will feed your child's growing knowledge. Read to your children often. Make sure reading time is relaxed and unhurried. It should be a pleasant experience. Let them pick out the books they want you to read to them. They will be more enthusiastic about a story which they have chosen themselves. If it's a story they know, stop part them through and ask them what happens next.
Join a library and visit it regularly. When your child is old enough, let them get a library card of their own. Always let them choose which books they want to borrow themselves.
Encourage Interests and Passions
In every case, whenever your child shows an active interest in something, encourage that interest. Let your little one discover his or her passions with a variety of hands-on experiences. Introduce them to swimming, music, dancing or bug collecting. "The more you encourage your child's own intellectual interests whether for bugs, story writing, chemistry, or music, the more passion he will bring to related academics," notes Kathy Seal, co-author of the book, Motivated Minds: Raising Children to Love Learning.
Play Games Together
Children learn best through play. Even when they are very young, there are lots of simple games you can play together. You don't need to buy lots of expensive toys either.
Develop Emotional Intelligence
Many parents think that intellectual development is the most important thing. They forget about the importance of building social skills. There's plenty of time for academic education, but during the early years it is vital that you teach the basic elements of good behaviour. Teach your child about following directions, taking turns and sharing when they are young.
Dr. Tina Payne Bryson and Dr. Daniel Siegel, authors of The Whole Brainchild: 12 Proven Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind, highlight that different parts of children's brains develop at different times. They suggest ways in which you can understand these differences and help your children lead balanced, meaningful and connected lives.