Most parents do not realize how much of a teacher they truly are in their children's lives. With not always holding a formal title, parents can lose perspective on just how incredible and insightful their role is. It's the little things that seem common place that impact the growth environment; from talking about the taste of a cookie vs spaghetti, to pointing out that a blanket is warm and fuzzy but the tiles in the kitchen are cold and smooth, all these interactions create increase understanding and awareness. So next time you feel you are talking too much or making your child do too much, remember that with every opportunity and interaction you are providing in the child's waking hours, you are enriching his/her live in a way that allows him/her to actively act upon the world in a positive and inspiring way.
TIPS FOR CREATING A GROWTH ENVIRONMENT:
• TALK!!! I can not stress enough the importance of talking about everything taking place around the house, out in the community, while driving in a car, etc. Talk about the weather, colors, properties of items found in nature or man made. Talk about body parts, temperatures, smells, and where the body is in relations to other things. Talk about anything and everything! The more you talk about thing as the child is experiencing it, the more the child will internalize that information for continued knowledge and understand not only of language but also the workings of his/her body and it's ability to accomplish tasks.
• Let your child help!!! More and more I am seeing children not being required to "help" around the house. Your child is building an identity for the family unit so by allowing him/her to be an active participant in the family roles, they will build a stronger bond and identity with their family. Have them pick up their toys when play time is over. Give simple chores like taking dishes to the sink or throwing garbage in the trash. Have child push/pull load or unload laundry and push/pull laundry basket into the room where it will be folded.
• Let your child DO!!! The only way to master a skill is by doing. If your child is self-feeding, allow your child to explore utensils vs. fingers for feeding. You can always provide guidance at the hand until they get use to it but do not do it for them when it becomes age appropriate for them to do it on their own. Have child help with bathing and dressing as much as possible; again, while doing so talk about the process the entire time. The more you promote a safe environment for child to try things with support, the more the child will increase competency in his/her skill-set.