This post is brought to you by Smile Tutor.
Young children experience such quick development that no month may be the same and if you blink you can miss it. Unfortunately, few families can succeed on just one income, so two parents end up working and being busy. How can you reconcile your busy life with your desire to be great parents with so much going on? There are a number of ways you can help boost your child’s development and learning, even if you’re busy with these 8 spot-on tips to help encourage your child to learn and grow.
Bring them to a playgroup.
Humans are social creatures, and children are no different! Children need friends to spend time with and bounce ideas off of in order to properly develop social skills. Organized activities can help your child learn in a safe environment. By making friends in a playgroup, your child can begin to identify with others and develop an understanding of who they are and what role they play.
Give them unstructured time to play.
With so many things going on in children’s lives nowadays, it often seems as if there’s simply no time for them to simply enjoy the freedom of responsibility a child has. Children should be given plenty of time to play and develop, without being drained by mandatory extracurricular activities. Unstructured play is fundamental in healthy brain development, allowing your kids to practice their creative and critical thinking skills while boosting their imagination, dexterity, and emotional strength.
Read a short book with your child.
You might be busy, but you shouldn’t be so busy that you can’t sit down and read one book before bedtime. Reading to your child helps to stimulate their imagination and expands their understanding of other people, as well as the world around them. By hearing you sound out the words, your child will be able to develop listening and language skills they’ll carry with them long into the future. On top of that, it’s important to make good memories with your children that they can remember fondly.
Have a dance party.
Everyone dances! You can dance when you’re happy, or sad, or excited. Children who don’t yet have command over language can be seen dancing to express their feelings. It helps develop physical ability, because it involves a wide range of coordination, motion, strength, and endurance. It promotes emotional maturity because children are able to express themselves and learn self-awareness. They can work in a group setting and learn cooperation skills.
Hire a tutor.
You may not always be around to help with the schoolwork. On top of that, school projects get heavier and more involved as your child ages. You might not be fully up-to-date on every little thing your child is learning in school, and that’s okay! Tutors who have educational training and are aware of the current status quo in classrooms can help your child by guiding them through difficult lessons and improving their schoolwork.
Authoritarian parenting was great years ago, but now experts recommend a more equal relationship between parents and their children. Instead of demanding that they do something, ask them politely and explain why they have to do it. Children take most of their behavioral cues from parents, so if you yell and scream at your child, chances are they will yell and scream in the future. But if you lay the foundation for stability and mental health, they’ll go into adulthood as happier, calmer adults. By asking questions and nurturing their answers, you can help them understand why it’s important to wash dishes, clean their room, or do other chores.
Sign them up for clubs and extracurriculars.
It’s important to know what your child likes and to help those passions grow. For example, if they like to build Lego robots, don’t try to sign them up for ballet. If they don’t like math, try signing them up for a reading club at the library instead. By having your child join clubs and groups, they’ll be able to receive structured guidance and help with what they love to do. It’s important for children to have hobbies because it improves their creativity and overall happiness. Make sure that you listen to your child instead of trying to ask them to do something they don’t want to do. Recognize that your child is autonomous and has their own thoughts, feelings, and ideas.
Spend time with them.
Even if it’s just on the weekends, it’s important to make time for your children. Children need love, time, and attention from their parents—you’re their biggest source of validation! If they can’t feel comfortable or close to you, it’s likely that they will seek attention elsewhere or act out. Whether it’s bringing them to the museum or spending an hour at the park—or even something as simple as having dinner at a restaurant with them—time with your child is the best way you can stay involved and help them learn.
**MAK did receive compensation for this post.