As I read through an Amish fiction book , Winter of Wishes (Seasons of the Heart) by Charlotte Hubbard, I am impressed not only with the way she weaves such a fine storyline but also her way of slipping into the story how important a solid foundation is for children.
Kids need a solid foundation. You can't deny that. They need someone there in the early years to take care of them when they are sick, to teach them right from wrong, and to generally provide stability and a strong support in their young lives.
Researchers have determined that this solid foundation is especially crucial in the early years, from birth through age three.
Although nobody’s perfect and your child will undoubtedly be first in line to let you know particularly of your imperfections once she is a teenager, here are some suggestions to lay a good foundation for your children.
Stability and Routine
A stable home life and routines are important to children. Most parents can’t be with their children 24/7, but maybe there’s a particular time of day when you can be with your child consistently. For example, some parents work late but manage to be home for story time every night. Other parents can always be available in the morning to make a healthy breakfast, set out the backpacks and see the kids off to school.
If you have odd working hours but can be available for your children in the middle of the day, that can work, also. For example, many elementary schools allow parents to sit in the cafeteria with their children for a special lunch together.
Other routines you can provide your child are morning routines, and bedtime routines. A familiar way of doing things. Anything will work as long as you are providing some stability and a familiar routine in your child's life.
One way to provide some a comfortable family routine is to read to your child every night. Reading to your child is a huge contribution to your child’s solid foundation. Experts say even from the womb your baby will get used to the sound of your voice and will find it very comforting.
Reading to babies teaches them about communication, builds listening and memory skills and exposes them to numbers, letters and new words in a fun way that can become a part of your daily routine. Researchers say that reading to your child as a baby will give them a stronger vocabulary by age two and make them a better reader later.
The National Institute for Child Health and Human Development has done research that has led them to say, “Reading is the single most important skill necessary for a happy, productive and successful life. A child that is an excellent reader is a confident child, has a high level of self-esteem and is able to easily make the transition from learning to read to reading to learn.”
What better way to lay a solid foundation than to read a few minutes every night.
Remember that story of the father that read to his daughter each night all the way until she entered college?
Beyond the Basics
Beyond the basics of ensuring that you provide your children with healthy food, and exercise, is to love them and keep them safe. You could drive yourself crazy considering all the things you have to teach them — right from wrong, how to be a good friend, how to do algebra, stress management, responsibility, your values. You could read all the childcare books ever written and they’d all say something different.
In the end, it all comes down to the quality time you spend together. Children learn by example and you are their example. Maybe they’ll learn how to play checkers, how to root for their favorite baseball team, how to be a good sport, or like my daughter the ins and outs of keeping a homemaking journal (she started hers this summer). Maybe they’ll learn the importance of a family vacation at the lake or having dinner with extended family every few weeks.
All of these seemingly little things will add up to make your child the wonderful child that they are going to become.
Just go forward and be yourself and do your best.