Parenting is difficult, and not just because of the last night wake up calls and early morning. One of the most pressing and difficult questions that parents face is how high their expectations should be for their children, as well as how hard to push discipline and education. In terms of education, some parents are entirely too lax about what their children do or do not learn all the way to adulthood, while others can become overzealous to the point of harming a child’s social, intellectual, or emotional capacities while they force them through the best PhD programs online instead of letting them watch TV.
Something characteristic of nearly all babies and toddlers is their immense ability to learn. By nature, they tend to closely observe everything around them, learning to interact with their environments mimic other people. This is the age at which people learn basic hand-eye coordination, motor skills, and speech. For this reason, it is not at all out of the ordinary to try to educate a child who is just learning to speak. However, rather than through the formal educational methods employed to educate adolescents and adults, small children need to reach definitive developmental stages in order to understand what they are being taught. Intelligence has little or nothing to do with when these stages occur. Likewise, education does not speed the natural development of a child’s brain. In fact, in some cases, premature classroom exposure can be harmful.
Some parents may feel pressed to enroll their children in educational institutions at a very young age. This may be due to home-work conflicts, but it may also be due to a sincere desire for the child to learn. However, experts in developmental psychology say that children should not start formal education until the age of five or even after that. When children are subjected to a formal learning environment at an age that is too young, experts feel that they can often develop feelings of anxiety, frustration, and boredom that make them less receptive to such formal learning methods later on. They do often learn in such environments, but without the physical infrastructure, the knowledge they gain carries negative feelings, such as anxiety and frustration. Over time, these may prove counterproductive to their educational futures.
Parents who would like to help their children learn as quickly as possible while still young can employ more holistic methods during the period between infancy and the normal age at which they start school. Instead of putting their little children into classroom environments and pressuring them to learn, parents may choose developmentally minded toys and activities. Playing games with students, telling them stories, and reading books with them can be highly beneficial to their intellectual development before pre-school. Additionally, it helps for parents to remain attentive of the way their children react to such activities. If a child becomes bored, then the activity is probably not helping, and another one may spark some interest. This curiosity and energy for new things is what enables little children to learn so quickly, and parents can use it to their advantage instead of trying to force children out of their element.