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The Best Investment: Set Aside Time For These 5 Things To Raise Great Kids
PHOTO BY courtesy of authors
  • Parents of young children today are overwhelmed. Online, every minute, a new study comes out, an article is forwarded — all sharing ways to properly raise children. So how does a new parent tread this world of parenting information overload?

    Child rearing in the digital age

    Being experts in the homeschooling and early childhood education community, as well as authors of the Kidstarter Curious Curriculum (the first locally created preschool program for home or supplemental use), we would like to share essential realities that can benefit you and your children.

    The greatest investment: Build the relationship

    Use your time, talent, and resources wisely as you build the relationship! Think in terms of stocks and shares. The proper investment includes knowing how to parent effectively through love languages, setting boundaries, instilling discipline, and engaging in positive communication. Self-care for parents is also valuable so they can be the best versions of themselves and be the kind of people they would like their children to be!

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    On a more practical level, an American educator, Rita Pierson, warned that children will not learn from people they do not like. A parent-child relationship bound by love, grace, and forgiveness, characterized by a genuine fondness for each other, becomes the glue that allows the passing of values, beliefs, and lessons in life. Remember, the closer the relationship is, the greater the influence.

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    At the crux of the relationship is communication. We need to work towards having positive and open conversations with our children from Day 1. From responding to kicks in the womb to coos, and then to endless questions, learn how to promote closeness through conversations.

    Since communication is a two-way process, don’t forget that we can also share our thoughts in child-friendly ways. Open up as well. Let the topics of conversation vary, welcome the trivial and mundane, as well as the emotional and deeper ones.

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    As children grow, parents can aim to be their “homing device” where children will keep coming back — a haven of safety where parents listen with heart, mind, and soul. Parents can help the child process their feelings and provide a non-judgmental and non-threatening environment where children feel safe to be themselves and know that their parents truly love them and desire their very best.

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    The secret weapon: Make time to play

    The secret weapon to deepening relationships is time. But what does time look like for our children? An overlooked, but very crucial element to winning our child’s heart is by getting down to their level and playing with them. Many don’t realize the impact it makes when we make time and play with our children.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states play is essential to brain development. AAP also adds, “Ideally, much of play involves adults, but when play is controlled by adults, children acquiesce to adults rules and concerns and lose some benefits of play… particularly in developing creativity, leadership, and group skills.”

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    Knowing how integral our role is in the child’s play, what then can we do? To start, perhaps mix up the kind of play you can offer your child! You can choose from toys and object play, physical play, outdoor play, and pretend play. From there, take into consideration their interests and perhaps begin combining them with the choices mentioned. As they play, sit back, observe, and take time to reflect.

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    Start building your library with all sorts of books. Create a cozy area for reading. When you read, add voices and sounds that will draw their attention, and lastly, be prepared to read the same book over 20 times!
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Kidstarter Curious Curriculum
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    The overlooked asset: Reading aloud

    Next, to play, uninterrupted, and engaged read-aloud time is the next best thing to do with your children. Its most valuable benefit is the resulting bond formed from the time spent together sharing the experience of enjoying a story. Do not underestimate this simple yet powerful tool. This shared event promotes a sense of intimacy where the feelings of love and undivided attention abound.

    But wait, there is more! Reading aloud develops rich language and communication skills. Through the experience, children learn to communicate, comprehend, and analyze the whats, whos, wheres, and hows of a story. Eventually, reading opens the door room for discussion of new experiences. According to Read Brightly, “Literature is one of the best ways to help kids understand something without experiencing it for themselves.”

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    The precious key: Character and values first

    Passing one’s values and positive character traits begin with simply “living as the person parents want their children to be.” Modeling is more potent than words. For character, “more is caught than taught.”

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    Toddlers do not understand big words like empathy, compassion, or generosity, but they will learn if they are regularly exposed to actions displaying these traits. When there is good modeling, parents have won half the battle.

    The natural tendency for most parents is to focus on the measurable academic goals of Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. We are asking each parent to reconsider this. We have seen the immense reward of prioritizing character and values in our own children and students. We have also witnessed that the academics will follow if the foundation for learning is adequately set through effective communication, play, reading, and character and relationship-building.

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    The battle plan: Parenting in the digital age

    There is no stopping technology as it invades every area of human life. As parents of small children, listen to the experts when they advise no screen use for the under 2s, limited use for preschoolers and the creation of a family guide for technology consumption as older children use more screens for school and for social media. Let us not wait for ill-effects to arise in areas such as speech, attention, social skills, and mental health.

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    It is ironic that though the world seems more connected in the online universe, families struggle with how technology has invaded day-to-day family dynamics. Real connection through shared experiences and productive conversations is in danger of being set aside to “meet” the demands of the online world. Technology is here to stay, and so parents need to take the lead to protect their family. 

    We, at Kidstarter, would like to help parents focus on what really matters. This season of young children is only here for a while, so press on, mindfully and intentionally, applying these truths in your daily lives.

    The Kidstarter Curious Curriculum Teacher’ Guide has a multitude of activities for six disciplines — Literacy, Numeracy, Science, Art, Social Studies, Music, and Movement/Outdoors. It also comes with an activity book, and Filipino language and culture are woven into the activities.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Kidstarter Curious Curriculum
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    If you want to learn more about these principles and how to apply them, check out the Kidstarter Curious Curriculum at kidstarter.ph and follow us on Instagram @kidstarter and Facebook @kidstarterph.

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