‘You are your child’s first teacher.” Now, hearing this might come as a surprise to many parents out there. There is a big misconception about parenting in which most parents believe that their roles and responsibilities are only limited to taking care of their children’s wants and needs – not educating them about how to read, how to write, how to know their ABCs, how to count their 123s, so on and so forth. Surely, that must be the job of the teachers right? Wrong. Being parents means being your child’s first teacher.
Relax. There is nothing to be afraid of when it comes to teaching your children. It is just very important for parents to be aware of how much influence they have on their children’s upbringing, personality, and behaviour. So, what can be done to make sure that each child receives the best education from his/her mom and dad?
Shape Good Behaviour
For starters, you can be a good role model to your children. I’ve mentioned how much influence parents have on their children – well, children often pick up information from what they see happening around them and mimic the behaviour of the people around them.
This can be hard because we are only human. Parents sometimes have bad days and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. All I’m saying is that to nurture good values among your children is to practice them. Teach them about good manners, saying “please” and “thank you”, about sharing, showing respect to others, telling the truth, and being kind.
Teach Healthy Eating Habits
At a young age, children learn by observing others. Other than moral values, you can also teach your child about healthy eating habits and this should begin at home. This might be difficult at first as children, in general, run away at the sight of vegetables. But research has shown that if children see their parents place those green vegetables on their plates, they are more likely to do the same. Starting early helps to ease this process.
Your Home is Your Child’s First Classroom
When you become parents, you need to be aware of the responsibilities that come along with having children. Lifestyles need to change, including the design of your home.
In making sure that your home offers a conducive environment for children to grow in, there are many adjustments that you have to make and do to prioritize the well-being of your children. A good start is to designate a specific room for your child to play and learn in.
Equip the room with educational toys, books, and other learning materials that transform your child’s playtime into a beneficial one such as the ALFA and Friends’ Spark Kit which comes with a STEM comic book and a science experiment kit that you and your child can do at home.
Maximize Learning Opportunities
Being your child’s first teacher does not mean that you literally have to be teaching them about phonics, addition, and subtraction. It’s about providing them with various learning opportunities at home.
Even routine, everyday tasks and activities are good learning experiences for your children. For instance, a trip to the dentist can teach your child about the importance of having good oral hygiene or a trip to the grocery store can educate your child about the food and nutrition. The possibilities are endless.
Small tasks like helping you to count how many cartons of milk are in the refrigerator are actually very educational for your children. You might overlook the value in these mini tasks but they hold such a huge impact to your child’s cognitive development and growth.
It does not have to be complex, simply give them simple instructions to follow such as putting away the blocks into the toy basket. This already allows your child to practice using their motor coordination skills.
Read To Your Child
Reading books, telling stories to your children offer many benefits to your child’s cognitive development, including the development of his/her language and literacy skills. It is always better to opt for books than electronic gadgets for entertainment and education.
Try to minimize screen time as well as children who are so used to watching instead of reading are proven to have difficulties focusing in school later on. Cultivating a passion and interest for reading is something that all parents should give a try in 21st century teaching and learning, an era where reading seems to be disappearing among the youth.
Certainly, being your child’s first teacher shouldn’t intimidate any parent as it is only natural for
children to look up to their parents in the process of growing up. The saying that parents are
their children’s heroes is a tried and true statement that all moms and dads should be proud of.