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Home is the first environment a child is exposed to socially and it is home where the child spends maximum time of his early years around his/her family. It is a great opportunity to utilize this environment to maximize the learning of a toddler. To do the same, it is important that we as parents and people around us who are involved in raising the child are actively adopting the behavioral alterations required to suit the learning of the child.Some of the easy to do and important ones are –
1.Improving the listening and responding skills – Toddlers have a habit of asking never ending questions, sometimes they repeatedly keep asking silly questions. There is no end to the whats, whys and hows but then, it is only natural for us to get irritated. The key to alter this behavior is obviously patience; if you consistently encourage the curiosity and raise the interest level of the child it will have many long term benefits. The child grows up to constantly seek new things in life, explore and experiment with changes. If we do it in an early age, it will continue in the long run.
2. Reading Habit – We all know reading is a great habit but it is a habit which cannot be inculcated in a child by preaching. This is something which can only be done by leading through example. There are two ways to do this – reading yourself and being an example to the child or reading the book aloud to the child every night through bedtime stories or any other means. This comes for my personal experience – whenever I read a book, V also has the excitement to hold a book and pretend to read. In fact this is how kids transition from pretending to read to actually start reading.
3. Declutter – Like most other parents, I am also guilty of getting too many toys and games for my daughter. Kids are spoilt for choice and eventually start to devalue things. Research also proves a child’s learning is maximized when it is uncluttered and organised. Prioritizing and organizing skills can really be imbibed in the early years. Time capping for certain games is also a great idea where you only give one set of toys for a particular period of time. Involve the child in the de-cluttering process and let him/her choose the next set.
4. Demonstration – It is always a great idea to ask kids to assist you to do things. Household chores or outdoor tasks, working as a team always helps raise a more responsible child. The activity is also perceived as fun activity by them and not a task.
5. Let them try – Unless it is a big hazard, let the kids try to do things independently. Parental supervision is good but instilling the confidence in the child really means a lot. I have seen the such kids to grow up as very confident and fearless individuals.
Once you are a mom, life throws you new challenges in every stage. Just when the sleepless nights are coming to an end, you got to make way for tough decisions 😀 Lately we have been doing a lot of research on preschools in order to finalize the best one for our little one. In the process there are a few realizations we had and therefore, I have listed down the important ones to keep in mind when you are looking for the best preschool for your child.
The next few things that you read shall help you make a conscious decision on selecting a preschool for your child –
- Match between the thought process of the parents and culture of the school: Every parent has a different set of expectations from the school. There are many parents who feel that a school must give a lot of importance on academics and theoretical method of learning because they benefited from it in their childhood. At the same time there would be parents who would be looking for more playtime for the children and a good platform to channelize their energy in the positive direction. So based on these expectations, you could check on which school has to offer what.
- Infrastructure:Most good preschools do have great infrastructure these days but our priority was a school with a larger out door play area because we strongly believe in outdoor playtime. Similarly, I am sure parents would be having some specific requirements on the amenities the school provides basis which they can take a call on the same.
- Hygiene: It is the most important factor to decide anything for your child. Irrespective of what the school authorities say, it is always better to personally go and do a check.
- Proximity : If you find a very impressive school far from your home and you do not have good options around your house, you can still take a conscious call of sending the child away. We thought it is the first time V was going to step out of home and spend 3 hours with a set of unfamiliar faces and hence decided on a playschool pretty close to our home/workplace. The idea was to be immediately available for any kind of emergency.
- Language : Since V was confined to the home until now and we speak the regional language at home; she was exposed to only 2 languages – English and Odia. Therefore we thought it is important that we send her to a school where the staff can speak these 2 languages and not just Hindi which V cannot understand. Basically we tried to pull in as many strings as possible to make her feel comfortable in an unfamiliar environment so that there is no problem in basic communication between her and people around.
So here are the few factors that helped us decide on the best play school for our child. I hope these help you in some way. The next post shall be on how to check the readiness of your toddler for preschool.