Recent brain research has shown that the first three years of life are the most important for a child’s brain to develop the connections they need to be healthy and capable adults[1]. That’s why it’s so important to teach them the appropriate skills to give them a head start in life. Here are 3 pro-parenting tips you definitely don’t want to miss:

1.    Encourage parallel play

Around the ages of 2 to 3, you’ll notice your child start to pay more attention to other little humans like himself. They’re not playing together but they’d be sitting together and playing on their own. That’s what parallel play is. It’s crucial at this age that kids spend time with other children of the same age, stressed Heather Wittenberg, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist specializing in child development.[2]

Photo: https://mumsgrapevine.com.au/2018/08/dad-baby-matching-outfits/

Parallel play plays an important role in helping kids acquire social skills needed for cooperative play later[3]. Babies and toddlers are still trying to make sense of the world around them. They don’t understand the concept of ownership and sharing, don’t know what’s fair, and haven’t figured out that others have feelings. Parallel play gives them a chance to practice social skills such as empathy and sharing[4]; Skills that will definitely give them an advantage in this increasingly connected and social world.

To involve your child in parallel play, set up small and intimate playdates with multiple toys and activities for just two toddlers. Keep these sessions short, more than an hour is too much for a toddler to handle.

2.    Read to your toddler

Scientific evidence suggests that reading to your toddler between the crucial developmental age of 1 to 3 brings vast benefits to their future growth, understanding and interaction with the world.

Research has found that reading to children is one of the most important activities for a child’s brain development. Reading to pre-schoolers has been found to positively impact language growth, literacy capabilities and reading achievement. In addition, reading to children also stimulates them to read books themselves and further develop their cognitive skills.[5] These skills translate to improved knowledge and confidence, explaining success later on in life.

Other benefits[6] of reading to your child include (but are not limited to):

  • Enriched communication skills
  • Enhanced understanding of the world
  • Increased creativity and imagination
  • Higher levels of emotional intelligence
  • Enhanced concentration
  • Improved parent-child bonding

Experts recommend reading to toddlers as often as possible, striving for at least one scheduled reading time each day.[7] This will definitely help your child reap the immense benefits of reading, ensuring a head start in life.

3.    Flashcards for Toddlers

Dr Makoto Shichida, the creator of the popular Shichida Method, found that presenting large amounts of information at a fast pace to toddlers through flash cards stimulates the right brain and can activate photographic memory[8]. It is no secret that flash cards play a crucial role in kickstarting early childhood education.

The question is, what kind of flashcards are the most effective? If they’re too fancy, your kid gets distracted by the graphics. If they’re too big, you’ll find them a chore to bring around. In terms of cost, you’re probably better off buying digital flashcard packs online instead of many physical ones. The problem with that is most flashcard apps out there are designed to be attractive and fanciful which could lead to screen addiction.

The exception? TodCards – Toddler Flash Cards, a brand new education app launched by Originally US, an award-winning mobile app development studio.

How is TodCards different?

It provides all the benefits of conventional flashcards while incorporating an additional bonus: Portability and convenience. There is no need to worry about screen addiction because the app intentionally contains minimal fanciful and interactive elements.

All your child’s focus will be concentrated on the educational content.

On top of that, there are many available learning decks to choose from, and more are on the way. Download this brilliant app here.

Photos: TodCards

TodCards is now available for iPhones & iPads on the App Store. An Android version is in the works.

Conclusion

We have covered the top 3 ways to help your toddler get a head start in life but note that this list doesn’t just end here. Ultimately, what will benefit your toddler the most is your presence and unwavering love. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any other tips to help fellow parents!

[1] http://www.educationalneuroscience.org.uk/resources/neuromyth-or-neurofact/most-learning-happens-in-the-first-3-years/

[2] https://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/development/social/social-development-milestones-ages-1-to-4/

[3] https://www.metroparent.com/daily/parenting/toddlers/parallel-play-and-toddlers-what-it-is-and-why-it-matters/

[4] https://www.highlights.com/parents/articles/why-babies-need-parallel-play

[5] https://www.education.vic.gov.au/documents/about/research/readtoyoungchild.pdf

[6] https://www.sanctuarylearning.com.au/blog/the-nine-notable-benefits-of-reading-to-toddlers

[7] https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/reading-toddler.html

[8] http://www.internationalparentingassociation.org/Early_Learning/photomem.html