Starting in infancy, when your child is home with you, you are able to devote so much one-on-one time to them and with them. They learn that they are important; they learn that they have something to contribute to you.
I feel important when another adult takes the time to talk with me and focus on what I have to say; it is not different with children.
They relish the focus of a parent. The bond created is life-long. There are no other children to distract you from them (if it’s your first child), and even if you have other children, the sibling attention struggle is nothing compared to that of one adult in a room taking care of 10-12 children in child care centers. (Home daycares have a lower ratio.) Also, siblings know they are on the ‘same team, so to speak, despite the rivalry that shows at times.
I was teaching 4 year olds to read sight words rather than to cut paper, sing the ‘ABCs’ and point to a number when you say it (one-to-one correspondence) because their parents had taught them skills and lessons at home. They followed the interests and skill levels of their children to explore as wide and deep into a subject as the child’s attention and cognitive ability allowed.
At home, you can turn the finding of an acorn into a research project. There is no set scope for what your child can learn; there is no timeframe to teach other than your regular day in between meals and chores.
Most likely your research will involve reading about the topic of study, or item of interest. Your child may sit on your lap, or cuddle next to you on the couch.
Think of this association: If reading stems from his/her interest, and reading a book involves the security and comfort of mom’s (or dad’s) lap, then books will be related to physical relaxation AND intellectual stimulation.
Once children realize that reading can open up knowledge, and be comforting, learning becomes a ‘love’ or a ‘want’ in a good way. Forever your child will relate reading to fun and interesting times and not to forceful, stressful feelings.
Read to your child: instill the love of learning.
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