Parents are the first teachers and first superheroes for every child. Often, parents are the best placed and the most important figure for their child’s development. Parents have a huge responsibility and it can be daunting at times. Here are a few things you can do at home to kickstart your child’s development journey:
Lead by example: For children, parents are role models. The effect of a parent's behaviour has a profound, unconscious impact on a child. Thus, it is generally believed that children are a reflection of their parents. As parents, it becomes incredibly crucial to restrict the negative side of your personality in front of children. Parents should behave in the same way they wish their children to act when they grow up. A lot of children who have been unfortunate to observe regular family disputes and violence, develop these natural aggressive traits in them, which become very difficult to get rid of in later stages of life. Hence, leading our children through examples and taking every opportunity to ensure that they discover what good behaviour entails is easily doable and fruitful.
Get out of the screen and TALK: A lot of times, it has been observed that parents misunderstand the meaning of spending time with their children. Of course, it includes going out with them, watching a movie together, but there is much more to it. It is equally important for parents to start spending time away from the screen and talk to their children. They must speak about real-life cases and stories of the past. This would help the child to understand the possible situations he/she may face in the future and the right way to deal with it. While telling these stories, parents must encourage questions and enter into a conversation with the child, to develop empathy and cognitive ability.
Role play: this technique could be the most interesting once when it comes to developing a child's rationale and thinking process. Enacting a hypothetical scene with many characters could help the parents understand how children respond to various situations, their ability to understand other's perspectives, resolve conflicts, and negotiate. This also develops a creative mindset in children. Parents could also enact a movie/play they have recently watched; this could help them to understand their child's retention span and attention to details. Role-plays should be accompanied by a post-talk, which includes having an open discussion on their roles and any alternatives. This would develop an ability in the child to ask correct questions at the same time, being able to handle criticism positively.
Listen to them: Sometimes, as adults, we tend to complicate things while arriving at a decision unnecessarily. In these situations, consulting our children could be a gift, as children have a simple way of thinking and focus on the most crucial aspect. This would enable the children to have a sense of importance and feel good about themselves. Parents should also help the children to feel confident about them, and this would happen by "it happens" attitude. When a child comes up and admits a mistake, rather than scolding them, parents must appreciate them for having the courage to speak up. Along with the appreciation, they should tell them that "it happens" and what is more important is to learn from the mistake and not repeat it. This would encourage the child to develop trust with the parents and also be more ethical in his/her deeds.
Develop Habits: Sometimes, parents tend to pamper the child away too much, which can be overwhelming for the child. Parents need to create a sense of responsibility and ownership in the child since the early days. Small activities like packing their school bag, remembering to carry their tiffin boxes, completing school work on time, etc. can reap tremendous benefits. It helps the children to structure in their thought process, prioritize the tasks, and of course, becoming more responsible.
Observe: It could be possible that your child performs differently inside and outside the house. Hence, it is essential to observe how the child interacts with his/her friends, relatives, and strangers. E.g., a child's response to a stranger he/she met at a park or the way he/she behaves at a restaurant with a waiter could describe their way of dealing with strangers. While observing and analysing children, we should look for patterns like who initiated the conversation, eye contact, how did it end, etc.
Play: Children love to play! What could be more exciting than to play and grow together? Parents can indulge in exciting games like "remember what you see," "guess the word," etc. to develop a child's retention span. Giving them quick tasks like describe your day could help you understand their verbal communication skills. Another exciting activity could be to ask them which among their two favourite meals to cook, this would help them in prioritization and decision making.