Every parent wants the best for their child. We each have our dreams and hopes for our kids and want to give them every opportunity to achieve their full potential as they grow and develop. Today we’ll look at a few things that you can do to ensure that your precious child gets the right start in life that puts them on the path to a healthy, productive life:
Learning Starts Early
With evidence supporting that an early learning environment is integral to a child’s education experience, finding a quality early learning center to set your child on the right path is vital.
You might be wondering how your three-year-old’s play group has any effect on their further education. Interestingly, research has shown that high-quality day care programs can increase future academic achievements, with one 30-year study published in the journal Developmental Psychology, finding that individuals who were enrolled in high-quality day care programs as children were four times more likely to graduate with a college degree.
Eating unhealthy foods can negatively impact a child’s performance, so getting them used to healthy eating habits is key. Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can increase energy levels, stabilize moods and boost brain power.
One study published in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience found that school aged children consuming omega-3 fatty acids showed significant improvements in scholarly performance. Think oily fish and salmon. While these aren’t always favorites with the little ones, you can also try making colourful and tasty smoothies with Greek yogurt or omelettes to reap similar benefits. Also, limit highly inflammatory foods including sugar and trans fats, meaning, visits to the Golden Arches every Sunday should be avoided.
Let’s Get Physical
The recommended rate of physical activity for children aged 3-5 years is a minimum of three hours daily, with the benefits including the development of social skills, feeling a sense of belonging, enhancing coordination, maintaining stress levels and optimizing sleeping patterns.
Try introducing your child to activities you can do together. Yoga mom? Take your mini yogi to class. Football fanatic? Take mini-me to the park for a kick. Dancing queen? Buy your little one a leotard and dancing shoes to match your own and bust a move at your nearest child-friendly dance studio.
It’s important to facilitate an environment for creativity and the use of imagination – there’s a reason why popular Disney movies such as Peter Pan and the Little Mermaid feature fantasy fairy and mermaid characters. Creativity – whether it be via making music, painting or coloring-in – fosters self-expression, allowing us to express our feelings and emotions.
It also promotes problem-solving and the development of new ideas in an aesthetically pleasing learning environment. Creative play also enables children to get a sense of spatial awareness and to face challenges.
It’s great to serve up a plate of fresh salmon and greens to the kids and to allow only minimal use of the PlayStation, but it’s important to set a good example yourself. Munching on deep fried chicken and replying to emails at the dinner table while the family chats about their day is probably not a good start. It can be challenging to set children on the right path, but sometimes just takes a bit of creativity to come up with ways of making certain tasks fun – such as eating vegies.
Any and all of the above activities and habits can help children develop their learning skills and enhance the potential for future academic success.