We’re sure your family is reeling from the events of the past few weeks due to closures and social distancing. All the uncertainty can be very overwhelming. However, it is evident that parents have jumped into caring for and teaching their children at home marvelously.
While it is easy to be overwhelmed with what “should be taught,” take a moment to remember how young children learn best, before we allow ourselves to be pulled into finishing one more assignment. There are a few things children can teach us to help us move forward with our new normal. Below are a few tips to help you enhance learning opportunities at home and in any environment.
First, children feel that play is always a good idea, and they are correct! For children, learning happens everywhere. They learn by doing, using their senses, exploring their environments of people, things, and places. Play itself is vital to healthy brain development. It’s a natural stress reliever and empowers choice-making. Play helps children learn to regulate their feelings, delay gratification, and negotiate with others.
Second, children usually go with the “I have an idea!” rather than the “what-ifs.” Going along with an idea is the essence of a child’s intellectual development. They may not always say it aloud, but you can see ideas churning in testing buildings, looking at nature, fixing or taking apart things, or making music with pots and pans.
Third, we grown-ups have great faces! Your children have spent countless hours studying your expressions and responses and they love to have your attention. Take some time throughout your day to give them undivided attention. After all, young children learn best when they have warm, engaged and responsive relationships with their adults. You have a vital role to play in helping your child learn through these early years. You are your child’s first teacher, and your child will keep learning from you as they grow. Your family’s rhythm will emerge. Give it time and make some memories.
CONTENT PROVIDED BY: Janet Parks, Siskin Early Learning Center