From the beginning, your children need you. You care for, nurture, and instruct them in everything. From you, they learn to tie their shoes, cooperate with others, share, behave in public, etc. You are your children’s first teacher. As they grow, you continue to teach them through adolescence, help navigate those crazy teen years, and venture out on their own into adulthood. Your children are absorbing and learning so much from you; what you say, what you do, how you act, etc. Be the best teacher you can be for them.
I am a homeschooling mom of 3. Now, you might be thinking, “Oh! I could NEVER homeschool my kids.” I can understand how you feel. I did not always homeschool my children, but this is not a homeschool article. Learning happens naturally everyday both inside and outside a classroom. I recently attended a conference that reminded me that learning occurs everywhere and why it’s important to be the best example for your children.
The goal of education is to develop children to be productive adults. Being your child’s best teacher means encouraging him/her to do their best and give them the tools necessary to be the best person they can be. Here are a few things you can do for your child.
Read great books
Great books open up a world of imagination and discovery for kids and adults of all ages. Reading out loud creates quality bonding time between you and your child while promoting language development, memory, and curiosity. Choose great classic books with strong characters and themes that cover a wide range of topics.
Capitalize on the “teachable moment.” Books can spark family discussions on important issues. As you read to your child, you will find countless situations where you can teach valuable lessons about values, character, honesty, compassion, etc.
If you want your child to love reading, you should model a healthy reading habit. Read material that you enjoy and let your child see you read often. Children that love to read do better throughout their life.
Play is Important
Play is a natural form of learning that is essential for a child’s intellectual, emotional, and cognitive development. During play, children are constantly learning. Whether it’s playing “peek-a-boo” with the baby, playing make-believe with your toddler, or playing a board game with an older child, play develops a child’s social skills, stimulates their imagination, and helps them get active. There doesn’t need to be any point to the play activity beyond simply having fun and enjoying oneself.
Research shows that infants and toddlers need “floor time”. Playing on the ground helps to build their coordination and is important for their cognitive development. As your child grows, play helps children learn socialization, cooperation, and promotes imagination. Take time and allow your child to get out and just play. Play time doesn’t have to structured or planned. For older children, create a family game night. Playing games teaches rules, cooperation, educational skills, and creative problem solving.
Set time aside and play with your children, regardless of how old they are. Playtime helps you build a strong bond with them, reduces stress, and is just plain fun!
Help your child develop good character, values and manners by setting a good example. It’s important to learn the 6 pillars of character; trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. Modeling is a good way to show your child what good character is.
Have family meals around the dinner table. Mealtime is an excellent time for parents to talk with and listen to their children and to strengthen family ties. Sitting around the table without outside distractions (no electronics or phones), focuses the time on the family. You can talk about your day, your activities, etc. Children will naturally learn about respect, manners, responsibility, and caring while around the dinner table.
Be Your Child’s Best Teacher
Education is more than just teaching the test. The goal of education is to develop our children to be productive adults. A great teacher is one that inspires a student to do their best and be a better person. You can be that person for your child.