Before stepping into any kind of space, the inception of children’s preliminary education embarks nowhere but at home. It is not that the moment an infant is born it starts going to preschools or caregivers. Family is indeed a child’s primary group. It is the first set of people to whom a child is introduced. Owing to their docile minds, children adapt to a lot of things both by observing andby being taught.
Family’s interaction with the child in several ways makes the child imbibe many qualities, emotions, way of behaving, and values. All of it contributes hugely to shaping the child as a person. Moreover, a lot of preconditioning of a child’s mind is done by the family which plays a pivotal role in the child’s development.
It is after engaging with the primary group that the child starts interacting and socializing with secondary groups and peer groups. The child’s demeanor with new groups is absolutely going to be a reflection of how he or she has been brought up by their family.
Several instances, like the way a family member talks in front of a child, how the family treats and interacts with the child, the kind of teachings that they endow to the child, all contribute to the child’s early education. Thus the role of the family in a child’s development is far more than just providing academic knowledge. In fact, the family is the bearer of a child’s education in every sphere. Education is a vast sea of knowledge. It covers not just bookish knowledge but various morals, values, qualities, emotions, and the ability to comprehend the things around. Geoffrey Holder, an artist once said, “Education begins at home.” So the way we want to see our children performing should be the way we influence them.
On this special occasion of International Family Day, let us dive in deep to understand the role of the family in child development:
Teaching the way to behave
Know that the little ones are observing everything happening around them. They may not vigilant enough but they are learning the way people behave around them. They are too fast to pick up the way family members talk and treat each other. As fast as they learn it, they start implementing it also! So one must be careful of how they are behaving in front of the children as it shapes their behavior to a great extent.
However, not everyone can be perfect all the time, so if you do behave unpleasantly in front of the child then do go and talk to them about it. Such small gestures of parents take care of the mental health of the children and even teaches them about courtesy.
Mental health is something that we as adults struggle to keep at peace. Children do not understand the importance of mental peace, so it will work wonders if the family takes care of the child’s mental health. It plays a huge role in the child’s response towards various things directed to them. Thus, the family’s role, in shaping children’s behavior is inevitable and must not be neglected.
Whether it is the small decisions that children make or the way they behave with the people around them all of it resonates with their values. From where do they learn values? Well, it is their family!
Instilling good and high moralistic values have a very important place in the child’s early learning. It helps them understand the difference between right and wrong. Giving respect, showing sympathy, lending a helping hand, caring to share,etc, all of these things are a part of good values.
For children, their role models are their parents. So whatever they do, children are going to copy them. So it is definitely the family’s responsibility to instill good values in children from a very young age. Whatever values the family exercises, the child is going to learn from it. It can be tough for the family to play the role of instilling values in the child but it can be done in many ways. For example, give them small jobs to do like watering the plants, helping someone in something, consoling someone, sharing things with someone, etc. These little things go a long way in instilling good values in the child. It even improves the child’s capability of emotional bonding. Another way of instilling good values in children is by having conversations with them about what values are and why they are so important in our lives. Moreover, apart from making children practice values, they must also observe their family members performing them. Family is the biggest influence in an infant’s life, so they derive a lot of inspiration from them.
Whatever we teach our children they tend to carry it with them wherever they go. We often see certain children being confident enough to talk to people outside their primary group. On the other hand, some children simply shy away or are unconfident to have the simplest type of conversation with someone. This is a result of how the child is being treated at home.
Having regular conversations with children is important because it boosts their confidence. It gives them a sense of belief that they can smartly respond to things around them. Moreover, never ignore any question asked by your child. Always make sure that you are answering their questions and to their remarks as well. Family is undoubtedly a child’s primary caregiver. So the primary caregiver is responsible to improve the socialization skills of the child. Therefore, the more parents initiate inter-personal communication with the child, the better it is for the child’s socializing skills. These skills improve a child’s sense of talking, forming bonds, and responding to the people around.
After a certain age, children will have to spend a few hours with their peer groups. In such situations, the child will feel the need to make friendships with other children. Being able to socialize gives an advantage to children to form bonds with the people around them. However, children who lack these skills end up feeling lonely.Several preschools announce skill-improving setups like summer camps. These occasions are specially structured to bring out the best in children. Occasions like summer camps are a great part of preschool learning that recognize the efforts that each child invests into being engaged with their peer groups. It brings out a lot about their character, attitude, and nature. Thus, the family’s role in socializing with the child determines the child’s socialization skills outside the family.To sum up, socialization skills improve the child’s socio-emotional development.
Family induces development skills
When we say that family play’s a huge role in child development then it not only includes mental or emotional development but physical development as well. Children during the inception of their growing years have a lot of muscles and tissues to develop in their body. These small growths in the body lead to the development of major skills in children. These skills comprise motor skills, cognitive skills, language skills, and emotional skills also. Apart from educating and instilling knowledge and good values, the family is also a coach to the child in terms of overall growth and development.
Let us understand how we can improve these skills and why they are important for the child;
- Motor skills enable the child to perform actions like walking, running, crawling, climbing up or going down the stairs, jumping, sitting, and similar other activities. All of these actions engage both large and small muscle movements of mostly the arms, legs, and torso. Adults have developed motor skills, but children have underdeveloped skills which they need to develop eventually.It helps children to improve their balance, coordination, agility, power, speed, etc. Therefore, the more the child is made to work on her motor skills, the better it is.
Family members can make the child perform small physical activities that will help them improve their motor skills. The activities that we as adults perform easily can be tough for the small ones. So engaging with the child in small activities is going to be beneficial for them.
- Cognitive skills are a very vital skill to develop. The ability to read, learn, comprehend, pay attention, remember, reason, solve problems are all a part of it.
Apart from growing physically, children also experience brain development. This happens more effectively when their minds are engaged in things that require brainstorming. To develop cognitive skills in children, families must engage them in things that will involve them in mental gyming. Solving puzzles, singing rhymes, building blocks, finding things, reading stories, etc. These help in improving the cognitive skills in children and will ultimately enable effective brain development.
- Language development is equally important because it helps the child to talk without much hesitation. Most of the time when children shy away from talking to people around, it is also because they experience difficulty and confusion in finding the right words. With time if children do not develop their language skills then they are going to face obstruction in mixing up with the people in preschools and similar other places.
Thus, to help children improve their brain development, families must engage in talking with the child as much as possible. Talking will work as a practice session for the child that will elevate their language skills. Families can also engage the child in reading things written in poems, books, calendars, and even television.
- Emotional skills are crucial for the child to develop because it makes him/ her expressive about their feelings. Emotions like, love, sympathy, respect, are things that children first learn from their family. Once the child develops emotional skills, he or she will be able to identify their own emotions and will also understand what is right for them. Families can improve the child’s emotional skills by encouraging them to do new things, spending quality time with them, recognizing the child’s feelings, and telling them about it.
- If we are trying to establish that family does play a big role in child development, then we cannot do away with the aspect of security. The family is a child’s primary caregiver. That denotes that family should be the only space for the child where he/ she can be themselves. Children in their preliminary years are sent to preschools and several classes for learning different activities. Not all these places and the people there are going to provide the comfort and ease to the child which they get at home. Therefore, families should always make the child feel contented and supported. Apart from providing the child with the security of food, clothes, and shelter, they must always make the child feel that they are his/her confider and must treat them with affection. A Burmese proverb says “In time of test, family is best.” Children must feel that their family will always be their biggest support system. This will make children open up about their feelings to their families. Moreover, security ensures the child’s strong attachment to their home and the people who live there.
We all love our families because it is a place where purity resides. Family accepts each member of it just the way they are. It wants good for everyone and wishes for the progress and development of its members. Nothing can replace the childcare of a family. From uttering the first word to walking the first walk, a child experiences and learns a lot from her family. Thus, let a child’s observation only soak love, affection, and wisdom from their primary caregiver.