There’s no rulebook teaching you how to be a flawless parent or how to perfectly respond to every single one of your child’s questions, but your influence still has a direct and meaningful effect on your child’s future success. Smart habits and attitudes are learned from a young age, so it’s important to foster a positive environment and engage in behaviors that set a good example for your children, in addition to stimulating them mentally. Now more than ever given the ongoing public health crisis, it’s important to identify ways we can safely educate our children both in the home and by using tools available online. Let’s look at three simple ways you can help to set your child up for success.
1. Turn daily experiences into learning opportunities.
When you have a baby or a young child, even day-to-day chores and occurrences present opportunities to learn. Letting your child help you cook, or narrating the experience as you do, can help boost math and problem-solving abilities. Being demonstrative with your facial expressions and vocalizations can also help teach children about emotions and how to respond to a situation appropriately. Even “play” time is a great time to educate. Make-believe and pretending can foster empathy, playing with others can teach collaboration, and telling stories develops creativity. There’s no shortage of lessons and skills that can be learned without changing your routine at all.
When you develop a daily routine for your child, make sure you include time for learning. Tutoring can be a great way to make time for purely educational skills every day. With restrictions on in-person learning and questions lingering about what school will look like going forward, online tutoring from services like Hello Thinkster is practical and affordable. They are also pioneering revolutionary tutoring practices by using AI and digital analytics to individualize experiences for their students. Before deciding on a program, do your research. Don’t just go for a popular brand— look into Kumon tutoring reviews for example and ask about the experiences of people who have used a service or software before you. Online learning, especially for core subjects like math, is only going to grow in popularity. Why not get ahead of the curve and help your child prepare for a bright future with an online program?
2. Talk to and read to your young child.
Communication is one of the most important skills that we need to develop and utilize language effectively. Effective communication skills improve your child’s odds of success no matter what career or life path they choose. Even when your baby is limited to sounds and gestures, it’s important for you to acknowledge that they are trying to communicate with you and the best thing to do is engage with them. Treat “baby talk” like a real conversation, it’s proven to aid development and growth. How many words your baby is exposed to is what forms the basis for your child’s vocabulary and eventually their reading ability later, so don’t neglect baby talk.
Having an open and communicative relationship with your child is also a great foundation for important conversations surrounding their future later on. When it’s time for you to help them choose a college, for example, you can provide important direction and guidance. As your baby develops into a child and eventually, a college-bound teen, resources like valuecolleges.com can help inform a conversation about what degree program would be the best fit. It can be overwhelming to try to sort through the details of every program. Sitting down with a website like Value Colleges with your child can help start a conversation about what path would be best.
3. Lead by example.
No matter how much we may wish it weren’t true, children are expert imitators. You may not realize they’re paying attention, but babies and children are often watching you and studying the way you respond to various situations. Even your facial expressions and tone can have a huge impact. If you are thoughtless, disrespectful to others, or react to things with anger, your child might mimic those behaviors as they develop. You are your child’s biggest role model, so setting a positive example will go a long way towards encouraging healthy behavior later in life.
While we may never know exactly what formula determines future success, we know a lot about what we can do to help put our children on the best path. Helping your child develop skills like resilience, empathy, and curiosity through their everyday activities, and through your own lived example, is essential. Language is developed earlier than many think, so don’t neglect “talking” to your baby and narrating the things you do when they’re around. Ultimately, you are one of the strongest influences in your child’s life, so take advantage of your opportunities to educate them and help them prepare for success.