All parents want what’s best for their child, for them to grow up intelligent and successful. Parents play an important role in ensuring their child is given the tools to reach their full potential. Parents have many options on how to enrich a child’s life, maybe its Spanish language lessons at a young age, or enrolling them in a popular after-school tutoring center such as Kumon or Sylvan. Parents hope that all those weekend trips to the local art museum and piano lessons will enforce a good work ethic early on, and sure in some respects they’re right, but on another level are they pushing their kids too hard too soon? Here are some helpful tips and hints on nurturing knowledge and growth as your child grows and matures.
First, remember that a child is still a child, and they value time to watch mindless cartoons or play tag in the backyard. This is so important, as children need that carefree aspect, they don’t need to be constantly chauffeured from activity to activity meant to teach discipline and inadvertently put an unnecessary amount of pressure on a child so young, it will backfire in the future. So bottom line, let them have those moments of pure silliness, show them that life isn’t always going to be about work work work, and there is always time to enjoy simple things in life. This will nurture their self-esteem and teaches them the ability to balance work and play.
Second, it is important to start the love of learning early. I have worked as an assistant at a Kumon Learning Center and the children there are extremely well- behaved (most of them at least). I specialized in working with ‘early learners’ or children usually between the ages of 3-6. The secret is to not push too hard, but encourage a love for learning in a way they can understand. Teach them to count by asking them how many puppies there are on the worksheet, or award them with stickers when were able to read a short story all by themselves. Never say negative phrases, but always encourage them to try again and help them when they are truly lost. It is essential a parent is able to recognize that a child shouldn’t be pushed to learn and to be rewarded and complimented when they are able to do something constructive, self-esteem building at this age is imperative for a healthy child.
Third, don’t overwhelm them with activities, but don’t underwhelm them either. My advice to you, would be to find one activity, whether it be swimming or playing the violin , that your child enjoys and can work at a skill for when they are older. Don’t push an activity your child does not care for, that will not foster any type of growth. You want them to choose what they want to focus on, let them decide as it will convey to them that their opinion is not only welcomes, but valued. Specializing in an activity when they are lets say 5 or 6 will ensure that by the time they reach high school, they will have a skill (and love for that skill) that will make their extracurricular rich and, colleges later will appreciate that.