Parents are the child’s first, and probably most influential, teachers. All parents must realise the important role they play in their child’s early development. Since the first five years of a child are spent at home with the parents, they can be considered the most important teachers the child will ever have. A child will learn more during the first five years of life than any other time.
Since words are the tools that children will be using for communicating with others, it is very important that skills in using language be highly developed. A child will learn the speech he/she hears. Home is the perfect setting for developing a child’s speech and language. Talk to the child lovingly, speak naturally, and clearly, use full sentences, tell stories and encourage the child to narrate stories and discuss interesting things and happenings. Do not encourage ‘baby-talk’, and do not expect perfect speech from the child either.
Good listening skills are essential for good speech, vocabulary development and general language development. Teach your child to listen and identify various sounds. Visual skills are also very important. A child needs to remember and differentiate between similar-looking objects.
Early learning takes place through the five senses— touching, tasting, smelling, seeing and
hearing. This learning can be fostered at home with the most common of household objects that have different textures, tastes, smells, shapes and sounds. Almost everything in a child’s day-to-day environment can be used with a little imagination, to broaden its horizons and stimulate thinking.
The home is the ideal school in a child’s early years. Parents should spend time with pre-school children on an individual basis. When parents go out, as far as possible, they should take their children along, as an outing can turn into an educational excursion!
Parents have to keep in mind that a child needs to feel loved, wanted
and accepted. A child requires security; self-confidence and self-respect come from security !
In the present set-up, where children are sent to play-schools and crèches at a very early age, parents should make it a point to spend the time they are with their children, in a wonderful and constructive way, and not be glued to the T.V.
Nobody can take the place of parents, more so, in a child’s early years!