Every moment is a teachable moment for the child, especially in the early years. It is amazing how their little brains work in these precious early years. Essential brain development occurs the minute they are born and the brain starts making connections with things they see, smell, taste and feel. It is essential to build a solid foundation of communication and provide a safe learning environment for when the child enters school by the time they reach 5.
Above is a great chart showing a child’s brain development. From this chart we can see how important the early years are. The peak of what a child learns occurs when they are around 3-5 years old. This is why social skills, problem solving skills, emotional control are all things that we should be trying to teach our children with every chance we can.
One important component is communication with your child. Sure, you can sit them in front of the TV. This definitely will not help the child socially. Or, you can stare out the window with your child and see the infinite amount of teaching moments. You can talk about the sky and the weather. From there you can talk about space, the planets or the stars. You and your child can talk about the season. What do you see? How are things made? Let’s go to the library and borrow books on the topic and learn more! Let’s do some art about it! Your child is learning AND having fun, and bonding with the parents. Winners all around!
Teachable moments are everywhere and it’s important to look for them. Is it time to go out to the mall? Teach your child how to put on their jacket by themselves. Use this opportunity to talk about buckles, buttons and zippers. Going to the car? Talk about car safety, talk about crossing the street safety. Talk about the stop lights and what the 3 colours of a stop light mean.
Explain to the child the reasons for things. An inquisitive mind is a great mind. Tell them to be quiet at a library, but explain to them why. “Other people are quietly trying to read and they cannot read if there are lots of noises around them“. Explain to them why it’s important to behave at a restaurant. Let them know why they cannot run inside the house, “Running is for outside. If you run inside the house, there are many things you can bump into and you can hurt yourself. If you hurt yourself you may need to go to the hospital and that will make mommy and daddy so sad!”. It’s amazing how explaining and communicating with your child can offer such positive learning experiences for everyone.
Take advantage of the early years. Play with your child. Talk with them. Communicate with them and that will set the tone of how your child will be as they grow up.