We’re not breaking any new ground when we say that parents are an integral component of a child’s development. However, the reality is that that is a statement which is very general, and probably isn’t understood by too many people.
Yes, people know that parents are crucial to how a child grows, but not many know the specific things they can do in order to facilitate development from an early age.
We looked at a number of activities that can be carried out by parents, with their children, that will encourage learning and growth all throughout childhood, giving the child skills that will be relevant and will serve them well through life.
Most parents, ourselves included, will admit that there are times when they have sat their child in front of a television or a games console because it is easy to do, keeps them quiet, and means we can get on with dinner or some other household task.
This isn’t necessarily a problem as a short-term fix, but definitely is should it become the norm, and prevents us from spending time with our children. While children will learn and develop a great deal through playing alone, this process is accelerated dramatically when we join in with our children’s playtime and interact with them and their toys.
Some toys are naturally better than others for parent/child interaction, and dolls would be a great example of this. Dolls are so great because parents can ask questions about the character and get the child to explore their imagination to come up with the answers.
Children also develop friendships with their dolls, and they can be excellent for early development of social and emotional skills.
Even if your child isn’t likely to go on and become the 21st Century answer to Leonardo da Vinci, exposing them to creative play and art materials from an early age will help to develop logic, hand-eye coordination, and encourage them to express themselves however they feel inspired to.
This is also the perfect forum for parents to test their children in a fun environment, asking them to draw them a person or an object and then describe to them what it is, for example.
In summary, the role parents play in the development of children can be defined in many ways. However, there is no doubt that the more time parents spend with children, the greater their social and emotional development will be, and the more confidence they will have to express themselves in any given situation.
Avoid the ‘digital babysitters’ such as the TV or games console, and instead take every opportunity to engage with your child on a creative level.
Kate is an online content writer across a number of industries, with a specific interest in parenting and child development, including how toys, arts and craft activities, and collectible dolls can be used as accelerated learning tools from a young age.