The first few years of your child’s life are among the most critical as they set off on a life long journey of discovery and creativity. During their first year, children’s brains double in volume—they will reach approximately 90 percent of their adult size by the age of three.
This means that, for better or worse, your little one’s noggin will be soaking up information (knowledge and behaviours) like a sponge. Understanding how you might influence the most positive development is key for parents of young children. Here are some tips and tricks to support you at home from the Shrewsbury team.
Language development blooms during the first phase of our lives. Encourage children to play with and explore new vocabulary by asking them questions and provoking observation. Introduce new terms and clarify explanations as you engage—don’t be afraid to speak to them at an advanced level as their comprehension will be significantly more refined than their ability to respond at this stage. Children will often understand and remember much more than they let on.
Use personal interest to shape play. If your child loves dinosaurs, walk and roar like a dinosaur together, draw dinosaurs, and have dinosaur tea parties. Use their fascination as a tool to engage and inspire. Letters and numbers can also be introduced to the theme to maintain engagement—remember, happy children learn best!
All humans crave social interaction. By letting children interact with each other in playgroups or at school, they get to see how their peers react to new situations. Social interaction stimulates and broadens personal interests and also boosts self-esteem—it takes courage to engage!
Children without siblings are used to playing with parents or helpers, which is why it’s crucial to explain the concept of sharing explicitly. You can also ask them what they should do when another child takes a toy from them, giving them something to get their brains churning.
There will inevitably be situations where children clash in conflict without an adult around, so they need to learn how to work things out themselves. If you can instil the idea of conflict resolution at a young age through positive language and the idea of sharing, then they can learn to regulate their own feelings and emotions better.
Remember, whatever you are doing at home, your child will most likely copy you! Children love following everything they see, which is why sometimes you hear them blurting out words and phrases they’ve overheard from your conversations or from the telly, without really knowing what they mean. You can take advantage of this by encouraging good practices, such as reading or eating vegetables, simply by doing it first yourself.
We know people say it all the time, but we will say it again: encourage your children to read! You can buy books or make use of public libraries to surround your child with stories. Make a big deal out of bringing your child to the library about once a week, and let them pick out their own books. Don’t be afraid to read the same book over and over; repetition supports a better understanding.
There’s a lot you can do for your children at home, but it is also key to make sure that what happens at school aligns well with your own expectation and ethos. Shrewsbury International School Hong Kong understands the importance of engaging with and developing each and every child according to their individual needs and interests.
Early years students engage with the whole school community—they learn to develop vibrant, healthy, and stimulating relationships. Daily Chinese and phonics lessons ensure that children are both challenged and inspired at all times. With weekly swimming lessons, soft play, performance, music, and art, Shrewsbury students benefit from a broad curriculum hosted within a range of purpose-built facilities, designed for and used by young children. Singing together and playing together fosters learning together.
Shrewsbury International School Hong Kong is dedicated to providing the very best experiences and opportunities to children between the ages of three and 11. Find out more about their early years’ curriculum here.