It is important for not only teachers to know what is developmentally appropriate, but it is also important for parents. Understanding where your child should be developmentally is part of the parenting job.
It is absolutely natural for parents to compare their children to others. What is important to keep in mind is that every child is different, and they learn in their own time and in their own way. That, your job as a parent is to make sure the experiences and environment you provide for them supports them as they continue to explore and learn.
That is why it is imperative for parents to have some idea of what their child should be working on. Learning is scaffolded, before they can move on to another skills, they first must master the skills leading up to it. So, let’s say a child has just turned 3 years old. You aren’t sure what they need to be working on. Go back to a list of what is suggested for an 18-month-old and check off the skills your child has mastered, work your way through a couple of lists, increasing the age of the list as you go. Make a list of the things your child needs to work on, take note of the items on the list you are sure your child has mastered yet. This is where you start. You need to keep track of what they know and what they should be working on. This way you can make sure you are working with your child.
It's easy enough! Learning is in everyday things. I also really love the car for educational conversation because they are buckled in and cannot escape you! For example, as you stop at a stop sign, it’s easy enough to say “hey, look at that red stop sign, it is an octagon.” Then ask them to point out more colors and shapes as you drive. You can even ask them to yell out some Letters they see on signs.
Parenting is not easy, it takes dedication. It is quite literally a parent’s job to prepare their child for the world. It starts at birth. From the moment they are born, its time for you to start talking to them. The need you to read to them. They need you to provide an environment where they can safely learn and grasp the world around them. It is important for parents to truly understand they are their child’s first teacher. Being that first teacher is not easy. You have to do your research, you need to be aware of what your child really needs, so that they may thrive, socially, emotionally and academically. You must look outside of the opinions of friends and family and educate yourself based on fact, and not opinion. Parenting is work, and Early Education is the most important thing you can provide for your child in their life time!
Abby Lazarus, M.E.d.
Current doctoral student, Masters in Early Childhood Studies, Bachelors in Child Development.
Current Doctoral Student.Masters in Early Childhood Studies and Bachelors in Child Development. 13 years in the ECE profession.