There are lots of wonderful options available to parents when sending their children to school; there are great public schools, public and private charter schools, Montessori programs, private religious schools and private niche type schools. These schools often have highly qualified teachers gifted in the area of early childhood education. Parents feel that it is of great consequence where they place their young children for Preschool, Kindergarten and beyond.
Yet with all of the school choices out there, one thing remains consistent, no matter what school parents choose for their kids, they (the parent) are the most significant teachers and role models a child will ever have.
While most parents take the previous assertion for granted, they may wonder or worry about how exactly to be a teacher and role model. They may feel that they aren’t prepared or qualified to “teach” their children. They want their children to learn good social skills and the appropriate (or higher) level of reading, writing and arithmetic for their ages and stages. Parents may feel that they do not have the parenting aids and parenting tools that they need to have a significant impact. Lack of time and/or lack of patience can sometimes stymie their attempts at instruction, but this shouldn’t be the case. Children lose out when parents don’t take a front seat in their education.
Does teaching mean sitting down daily at the kitchen table and working on reading and writing? It can, there are wonderful books available to parents who want to teach the basics, but parents can also take a more imaginative approach to learning. Parents have the obligation of teaching lessons in manners, sharing, safety, friendship and health. By promoting peace, quiet and good behavior they set the stage for calm lives that encourage success.
A trip to the grocery store can be a struggle or reframed as a field trip for parents to build their child’s cognitive skills and teach their children about good nutrition and tending to the family. Bedtime and bath time can be wrought with tears, anger and frustration or with some planning an opportunity to connect, wind down, read stories, and reaffirm the love and commitment parents have for their kids. Potty training can teach children about patience, understanding and trust. The trick is to shift the family paradigm and seek out those stressful situations to use as teaching moments.
The early stages of development are tough on parents. Consciously making the choice to change perspective and build a harmonious family life sets the stage for unstoppable growth and happiness in children.
Parents are captivated and excited by their children’s thirst for knowledge.
Parents should actively and joyfully participate in their child’s learning. Running, playing, climbing, drawing, writing poetry, reading stories, folding laundry and going to the grocery store are all ways to connect with kids. Parents should remember the wonderment they felt when they were little. In addition to subject matter taught at school, children need to learn life lessons and lessons in values and character. Through both word and deed parents make the biggest contribution to their children and to the wonderful people that they are destined to become.