Your kids are precious to you, and you want what is best for them. It may be hard to picture your little ones growing up, but it is important to consider from the very beginning who you are shaping them to be. So much of the future is out of our hands, yet there are many ways that you can set up success in life, even at a young age.
Talk, Talk, Talk
Your child’s education starts before birth. Did you know that unborn babies can hear as early as sixteen weeks gestation?
Start talking, singing, and reading to your child early on. Use real, proper, age-appropriate language. Even before your baby learns to talk, she is beginning to learn the rules of conversation. Give it a go. Say something to your infant, then pause. She will likely coo or babble in response.
You can begin managing a household routine from the time your child is born. Of course, in the first year, you may not have a perfect routine. However, you can serve meals at the same time every day, strive to wake up & go to bed at the same time daily, & include a warm bath and book in your bedtime routine.
Keeping a routine is incredibly important to your child’s stability and success. Children thrive on predictable and repetitive positive behaviour. Don’t worry if your routine breaks down occasionally or isn’t perfect in the first year or two. Just keep trying.
Read, Read, Read!
Children who receive positive language interaction, are read to at home and have access to reading material (Yes, board books count!), were shown to have a huge advantage over children who did not. Read every day, and leave books where your child can reach them.
Choosing Quality Childcare
Your child’s success later in life can be assisted by ensuring a stable, healthy, and educational environment from the start. Is the facility or home safe? Who has access to the children? Have all staff passed a background check and been certified in CPR? Is it loud and chaotic or ordered with structured activities?
Quality childcare doesn’t come cheap, so make sure the price isn’t the only factor you consider. Assistance is available for working parents in the form of Child Care Subsidies or softwares such as CCMS, often overseen by the Department of Children and Family Services.
You can begin fostering independence in your child from an early age that will make him more successful as he navigates the real world. This doesn’t mean you have to skimp on snuggles! Let your young child help with chores. Let her pick her own clothes or help plan dinner. Even these small daily actions make a difference.
Part of independence is allowing your child to develop strong relationships with trusted, safe individuals outside of her household. Let your child stay the night at grandma’s house. Take him to playgroup or on educational field trips with kids his age. Get involved in community sports. A child could never have too many people loving and protecting him.
Discipline the Right Way
The right way to discipline children is often debated, but what is indisputable is that children need consistent, healthy discipline. Methods may look different for different children, even among sibling sets. What is important is that you maintain rules in your household and that you enforce those rules consistently in a loving manner.
Setting your child up for success starts early. You don’t have to have access to fancy private schools or the best tutors; you just have to be there.