|Phillip Chipping, CEO and Founder of Knowonder! magazine|
As parents, there is nothing in the world quite as precious and special to us as our children and grandchildren. There is a love and magic there that doesn’t exist anywhere else in our lives. So it is understandable that we want them to succeed in life! We want them to get good grades in school, to make good friends, to get good jobs and graduate college. We want them to be self-sustaining, contributing members of society. And above all, we want them to have a strong self-esteem, to have confidence, to feel loved, and to be happy.
So, no pressure, right?!
Of course there is no guaranteed, magic solution to ensuring that each child will live up to our hopes for them. Each child is different.
Yet, statistics and new research show that there are definitely two things, above any others, that have a much higher likelihood of delivering on these hopes; proactively talking to your child, and regularly reading to your child.
As simple as they sound at first blush, these two things, if done proactively and regularly, have the potential and power to literally hardwire your child’s brain for literacy, learning and success!
But therein lies the kicker. These are habits that need to be formed early on in a child’s life – even starting at birth – and that need to be done over and over and over, day after day after day. It is in the compounding of these actions that we find the greatest impacts.
“This particular strand of research is teaching us that a significant portion of a person’s intellectual capacity is determined in his or her first 36 months.” (Disrupting Class, by Clayton Christensen)
It’s interesting to me that research is now showing that children’s intellectual and physical/eating habits are largely set by the time they are three years. Think about it. This is the time of their lives when we, the parents, have almost absolute control of everything that goes into their minds and mouths.
And so, although a child’s success will largely be determined by their own choices in life as they grow older, we cannot ignore the impact of our influence on their lives during their youngest years. We cannot afford to sit back and pursue our own personal interests and hobbies at the expense of our children. Just as it would be negligence for us to simply feed a child only the scraps that fall on the floor, so, too, is it negligent for us to give them our attention only when it’s convenient for us.
In a world that is hell-bent on providing the easiest, most-convenient solutions for every situation, we cannot afford to turn to the TV, the video games, or other forms of entertainment whenever our child is bored or “in our way.”
I invite you to learn more about the impact of reading to your child every day, and proactively talking to your infants every day, as well as the most effective ways these two things can be done. As simple as they sound, there are definitely “best practices” that every parent and grandparent should know.
You can find more information at www.knowonder.com.