The brain-boosting habit for your child you already know how to do

I was talking with Nathan Wallis last night and he mentioned that research shows very few children actually benefit from an early dose of academic learning – the so-called head start vanishes by early school years.

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Those who start school-type learning later catch up quickly because it is all about the stages of brain development. Giving a three year old education meant for a seven year old is like feeding a newborn steak and chips – it’s just not the right time. All the reading and arithmetic – that’ll happen, but later, when their brains are geared up and ready to learn that stuff.

You can boost their learning in the early years. The boosters are – a one-on-one, loving, safe relationship, lots of verbal language and opportunities to play. Do I mean education disguised as play so that they learn shapes and colours and numbers while they play? No, I mean banging pot lids and chasing the cat and squelching in mud and twanging that springy door stopper thing. I mean play.

If you want your kids to have PhD one day and make a million bucks, then roly-poly and splashing in a bucket and finger painting are what they should be doing when they are three. And the nice things is – it’s more enjoyable for your child and a lot more enjoyable for you.

Attend a Toolbox parenting course

Toolbox courses inspire and equip whānau. They are bursting with great advice, humour and encouragement, offering practical strategies and insights into developmental stages. Parents leave reassured that challenges are common to all families and that they’re not alone on their parenting journey. The courses are run over a number of weeks in a relaxed and conversational small group setting with a trained facilitator. The five courses – Building Awesome Whānau, Baby and Toddler Years, Primary Years, Intermediate Years, and Teenage Years. Find out more and register here.