Children require a whole lot of support in their development. When you have children, you introduce people who are entirely dependent on you to start with and slowly build their own independence by the age of 18. Between these years, at least, it’s going to be your responsibility to guide them in the right direction, providing them with the tools they need to experience success in the world and live a full and happy life as a result. Of course, there are countless things that you’ll need to teach your children over these years and it would be nigh on impossible to tackle them all in one post. But hopefully, some of the information below will help you to get this journey started in the right direction.
One of the first skills that many of us completely unknowingly begin to teach our children is how to talk. Your child will begin to try to talk from their own intuition. They’ll observe you and others talking and will want to be able to try to communicate with you. Certain sounds will come first. Cooing, gurgling and, of course, crying a lot. But around the age of ten months, things will begin to change and by the age of 15 months your child will likely be speaking simple sets of words. A lot of this will come naturally, but you’re going to want to know how to help. Here are some key stages to help.
- 0 to 6 months – it’s important to keep a track of your baby’s speech development and to be aware of key stages in their growth. Babies aged 0 to 6 months should make regular cooing sounds and babbling sounds. They should also understand that you are speaking when you are speaking, turning their direction to you when they hear you or other sounds. If this doesn’t happen, you may want to visit your doctor, who can check their hearing for them.
- 7 to 12 months – this is the age that speech begins to develop. They may say their first words and should be able to understand basic phrases and words like “no”. They may also start to use hand gestures or facial gestures to communicate with you. Do not be concerned if your baby hasn’t said their first word by 12 months though. Many children develop at different speeds.
- 13 to 18 months – from 13 to 18 months, your child should begin to actually speak. They are likely to be able to use and understand roughly 10 to 20 words. This is when they will begin to mimic what you say, picking up words from you, so make sure to use simple and well mannered words from this point.
- 19 to 36 months – ready for a conversation? This is the age that your toddler should pick up between 50 and 100 words, starting to have actual conversation with you. Short phrases and sentences should be expected.
If you notice anything out of the ordinary or are concerned about your child’s speech at any point, reach out to a doctor who will be able to help you further.
Reading and Writing
Reading and writing are other invaluable life skills that you can give to your child. This is often a skill that will be taught at school, but you can definitely get your child started early or help them further practice their skills that they’ve learnt at school. Children tend to learn to read through phonemics. This is a skill they develop when they are able to identify letters, or combinations of letters, and connect those letters to sounds. They will then learn to attach meaning to specific words and phrases. You should also look into phonics, which is the skill that allows children to understand that letters in print correspond to sounds. There are plenty of free online resources that can help you to understand this further to help your child to read and write well. Look into phonemic awareness activities for young learners. Further activities to help with reading including reading to your child a lot, highlighting key words and asking what they mean and more. When it comes to writing, there are also activity books that allow children to trace letters and numbers until they can draw them themselves.
Counting and Further Math
Math is another key life skill that your children will learn at school, but you can help out at home too. A good way to teach numbers is to start by counting from one to ten and getting your child to repeat. Then show each number on a piece of paper, or to hold up fingers, and ask your child what number that is, in order from one to ten. They’ll quickly pick up the skill and advance onto higher numbers. You can incorporate counting into everyday life. Count toys, count the number of peas on their plate, count the number of cars outside your house and so much more. The more practice your child gets, the more easily they will be able to internalize different numbers and count themselves! You can then use activity books to introduce further math concepts, such as addition, multiplication and division down the line.
Social skills are just as important as any practical skill that you might teach your child. Social skills will allow them to communicate with others, understand the display of emotions through facial expressions or body language and develop friendships when they start school or enter other social situations. Try to take your children to socialize with others their age. This will help them engage with others of a similar level of social skills. You should oversee all interactions so that you can intervene if either child does something wrong and to show them how to correct it. For example, if one child pushes another, you can intervene to let both children know that this behavior wasn’t right and to get the pushing child to apologize to the pushed child. This should put an end to aggressive or physical behavior. You can teach your child how to share, how to show affection and more.
Hopefully, some of the information above should really help you to instill some important skills for your child’s development and progression in life. Give them some consideration, as they can come in extremely useful!