Some parents often lament that they do not have the necessary skills and abilities to teach their children and they are better off in the hands of professionals. But, the truth is, any mother, on her worst day, she will be able to make better decisions with her own child than most others would be able to on their best days. The magic to achieving a child’s full potential lies in the parents.

Here are some ways to spend time with your children and how it helps to encourage their intellectual, physical and social development.

1) Read with your child
parents and children reading

Pick out a book with your child and read with him. You are encouraging the development of your child’s vocabulary, ability to listen, to remember, to sequence and imagine. More importantly, as your child discovers the world by reading with you, they will be more likely to develop a positive attitude towards reading. They are the children who would opt for books over video games, television and other forms of entertainments.

Related Post: Why Reading Matters

2) Physical play

Father and son - Sunday soccer game portrait

Take your child out to the park for a walk, kick a ball, climb and balance on the playground equipment. A good physical and balance program trains your child’s vestibular system and understanding of their position in space. Important cognitive skills such as reading and writing is dependent on a child’s directional awareness. Similarly, in order to tell time, we need to know the difference between left and right, up and down, before and after. Children who reverse letters, numbers and words are often found to have an immature balance.

Related Post: Why Your Child Needs Physical Play

3) Being part of their independent play

play-therapy-games

If you are tired from a day’s work, just being silently part of their independent play time can also be quality bonding time with your child. You will realize that your child will be constantly come back into your arms asking for advice, assistance or just making sure you are there. By doing this, you are fostering your child’s sense of independence and security. Your responses, encouragement and interaction will encourage your child’s sense of curiosity and inquisitiveness. This will continue to develop his social development.

Burton White from Harvard University conducted a thirteen-year study of how children develop in their first six years of life. He found that “the more informal education that families provide for their children makes more of an impact on a child’s total education than the formal educational system.”

So, the next time you spend quality time with your child, remember your efforts go a long way.

By Selene Diong, Principal Instructor of Sparkanauts

This article was first published in The New Age Parents e-magazine