In our last discussion, we learned that today’s children are challenged beyond the “3 R’s” of the twentieth century. New state standards require students to:
- reflect • evaluate
- estimate • predict
- conclude • interpret
- think on higher levels
How can you help your young child be ready for school? How can you prepare him/her for this new curriculum?
The Power of Childhood
Begin by recognizing the profound importance of childhood. All of us know that children are impressionable. But, we need to know that the impact of their first five years is profound. Sigmund Freud noted: “What we describe as ‘character,’ is based on the memory-traces of our earliest youth.” (The Interpretation of Dreams, 1900)
I remember, at the age of four, asking my father for a set of trains. He took my hand and together we collected several milk containers. I helped him to string them together and to paint them. Eureka: my first set of trains! Two years later, I asked him for my first baseball bat. He took my downstairs and we found an old broom. He sawed off the broom’s head and, together, we sanded the sharp edges to make them smooth. He then took the time to teach me the game of stickball.
I was proud and my friends readily played our new street game!
I learned that sometimes, you could use your imagination without money to create what one needs.
Demonstrate your knowledge of childhood’s importance by spending quality time with your son/daughter. Alex Haley once exclaimed: “Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.” Make your own loving magic as a father or mother. Its aura will stay with your child forever.
Doing It Right: The 5 Musts!
- Listen a. Set an example – use eye contact and respond without interrupting. b. Ask questions: Why? How? c. Be patient – we think faster than children. d. Encourage conversations – remove distractions (turn off the TV & video games). e. Sit together at meals and talk with each other.
2. Be positive Praise: observe and say what you like about your child. b. Avoid complaining. c. Acknowledge mistakes as a part of life. Let them be good opportunities for learning and improving perseverance! d. Show kindness and caring for your child, other people, animals, and the environment.
- Foster Creativity a. Read to your child every day. b.Plan together. Take trips to zoos, museums, parks, historical sites, etc. c. Provide a home that values culture – fill it with books, art, and music. d. Limit TV use (1 hour per day). e. Limit computer/video game use (1 hour per) f. Organize family “jobs” – let your child make charts & take turns. g. Encourage unstructured play, giving your child a chance to design his/her own games. This should include a daily dosage of outdoors play (1-2 hours).
- Promote Learning a. The key is to ensure that your child feels his/her input matters. b. Include your child in family problem solving, planning for vacations, and entertaining guests. c. Visit the local library weekly. Make browsing, selecting, & devouring books joyful.
- Be a Role Model a. Remember that your actions speak louder than your words. b. Know that children do as we do and not as we tell them to do!
To develop a happy, competent, disciplined, motivated, and self-reliant, child takes unconditional love, time, and an environment rich in cultural stimulation.
Childhood memories stay with us, helping to shape our adult journey.
As a parent, as a person – know yourself. Listen to your own intuition (your inner voice) and be kind to yourself, too. Ignore the rant of our commercialized society. Nurture yourself as well as your child!