Everyone wants their kid to get the best grades, score the winning goal, basket, touchdown or run and have an endearing personality. Parents burst with pride every time their child is ahead of the developmental curve in any area. Why? Because their most profound desire is for their children to be successful. It’s not surprising, then, that so many want to do everything humanly possible to ensure their children are physically, emotionally and mentally prepared for life.
If you are one of those who wants to secure a place for your child ahead of the curve, consider jumpstarting your child’s development by doing these five things:
1. Find Quality Child Care
If you can’t be home with your child during the day, it is imperative that you find the best child care center possible with educators who will invest in your child’s growth. Some indicators of a quality enterprise are a low staff to child ratio, an environment that stimulates learning and of course, positive reviews from other like-minded parents. It is always a wise idea to tour any potential locations to be sure that they seem like a good fit for your child.
2. Create a Secure Attachment Bond
Whether you are working or at home or in an office full-time, forming a secure attachment bond is crucial to optimize your child’s learning and emotional intelligence. The key to creating this bond is to slow down, engage in the moment and attune yourself to your child’s nonverbal cues. It is well established that when a child feels safe, secure, calm and understood every area of their learning ability skyrockets. Surprisingly, this attachment can occur at any point in your child’s life, not just when they are an infant, so it’s never too late to put your phone away and strengthen that bond.
3. Teach the Importance of Exercise
Teaching your child to exercise will not only help guard against obesity, but it can also increase their brainpower. Numerous studies show that physical activity can increase the size of your child’s brain, improve academic performance and boost memory and thinking skills. If those benefits aren’t enough, team sports teach your child group dynamics and sportsmanship. You can model the importance of exercise by engaging in regular physical activity with your child.
4. Limit Screen Time
Studies suggest that excessive screen time can negatively affect a child’s development. Children who clock more hours in front of a screen have been found to be less academically and emotionally successful than their peers. They can have difficulty relating to others, forming friendships and even sleeping. Experts suggest that parents model appropriate behavior by limiting their television watching and cell phone usage during family activities.
5. Demonstrate a Balanced Diet
Do you still eat the same foods you did growing up? Like it or not, parental eating habits become children’s eating habits. Feeding your child a balanced diet could not only broaden your child’s palate, but it could also prevent childhood obesity, and even spur their growth. Research foods that form a balanced diet and provide all the vitamins and nutrients to stimulate children’s growth hormones.
Your actions prepare your children for life as much as your words. When you are out of the home, be sure to enroll them in a great child care center. When you are with them, invest in their physical, mental and emotional well-being by paying attention to their nonverbal cues, teaching them to exercise, feeding them a balanced diet and limiting their screen time.