Child Development. Infancy to Youth

Children’s Education & Development

The obsession of today’s society with education is a topic which could be discussed at any length. The topic can lead to unending discussions and a variety of oceans of thoughts and yet none of it all could be termed irrelevant. We find it easier to discuss the topic of development rather than education. The Indian society lays too much emphasis on education as compared to skill development. We can see parents of toddlers worrying about their education whereas what is important at this stage of life is not education but forming basic habits such as keeping your body clean, toilet habits and making the habit to eat food on his own.

The best gift that a mother can give to a child is good physical and mental health. There is no better source than mother’s milk for the kid even upto the age of even 3 years if the mother is lactating enough that long. There is no simpler and better way to deliver the best of what the child needs till this age.

Attempted below is a generic list of developments and qualities which children may be directed to attain instead of the bare emphasis on education.

The following aspects may hold utmost importance. Remember a child learns what he lives and not what we may try to teach.

Ages 2.5 to 5 years. Do not introduce sweets, chocolates and ice creams into a child ‘s life. The natural sugars in fruits and grains are adequate for the child. It may surprise many that in most cases craving for sugars, salts and spices is passed on to the child at these early years of life and if escaped helps the child all his life in avoiding these health enemies. Just don’t worry about the studies and homework. School is fun- nothing but the fun. It’s normal and almost advisable to maintain 4 days a week schedule when the child is in pre primary stage of schooling. Take leave often. The first priority is long hours of sleep and wash room habits development.

1. Regularising toilet and eating habits. It’s more important to teach the child to clear the bowel regularly before leaving home than to reach his/her play-way school on time.

2. Learning mother tongue and common language.

3. Respecting others’ possessions i.e not snatching or picking from other kids. 

4. Not wasting any resources whether own or someone else’s.

5. Keeping the things back from where they were picked up.

6. Holding the parents’ hands all through outside the house on roads and public places other than parks, playgrounds and schools.

7. Not inserting the fingers in switchboards and mechanical moving devices and motors.

8. Teach the child about inappropriate body contact and touch and share about occurrence if any of same with parents as soon as possible. Impress upon the child that no harm can come for sharing such happenings with the parents.

9. Visit place of worship with the child regularly and periodically. Let the child imitate prayers being offered by parents. With age the child will eventually start connecting with the God.

Ages 5 to 10 years. Protect the child from cravings for sweets, slats and spices. Safeguard over dependence on screens -TV, Computers, Mobiles, Tablets and Play Stations. From the age of around 7 years the child should be migrating to improved understanding with father as he starts moving out of the house more often. Encourage the child for outdoor activities and sports. However, restrict the hours of practice of games which are heavy on upper body e.g Lawn Tennis. Some researchers recommend limiting racket games other than Table Tennis to not more than 5-6 hours a week. More than this starts affecting physical growth and height gain adversely.

1. Not wetting the bed. Keeping the hair short and oil applied. Gels and other non- sticky material rarely provide nourishment equivalent of natural oils. Brushing teeth before going to bad. Learn to keep the clothes tidy and keeping things in place. Start helping parents in smaller chores especially the mother. Keeping your own used plates in the sink. Bringing stuff from kitchen to the plate. Laying the table for food. Pass or bring articles to parents that they need to accomplish a larger task.

2. Learning to share own stuff and not snatch others’.

3. Start maintaining a regular separate routine for school days and holidays.

4. Strengthen habit of regular meal timings and intake of healthy food.

5. Learn how to ride a cycle.

6. Start playing outdoor sports and become regular with one which gives happiness to the child for the reason child may have an aptitude for the same yet allow the child to play multiple sports.

7. Introduction to the concept of family and society and their rules.

8. Get in touch with art in any form- music, dance, painting, whether through hobby or otherwise.

9. Introduce the concept of interdependence of deeds and consequences very mildly.

10. Putting the switches, appliances, taps off after use.

11. Learning to pray regularly and connect with God.

 Age 10 to 14 years: One of the most difficult stage of life yet formative and full of learning. Time for narrowing or focussing into one or two sports if the child has orientation for being a sportsperson. Body growth, emotional and psychological changes are rampant. Exposure to outside world brings about major changes in emotional and psychological fronts. Generally, puberty starts earlier in females than males. In females, height gain retards after onset of mensuration in females.

1. Introduce the concept of gender based biological differences.

2. Learning to strike the balance between studies and sports.

3. Learning to balance the time between peer group and family.

4. Try to discern the natural bent and aptitude of the child in sports and/or studies i.e Medical or Non- Medical, Arts, Commerce streams, team or individual, racket or field games.

5. Learning behavioural norms in the society.

6. Learning social etiquettes and developing the skill of conversation.

7. Safeguard over dependence on screens -TV, Computers, Mobiles, Tablets and Play Stations.

8. Sticking to healthy food as a matter of routine with occasional junk foods to satisfy the cravings.

9. Repeat lessons about inappropriate touch and adverse consequences of breach of any other person’s privacy and persona.

Age 15 to 19 years: If the child has followed the earlier stages well in all good probabilities he/she will develop into a resourceful youth on his/her own. Need to safeguard against bad company and influence. Keeping away from liquor, drugs, rash and negligent acts becomes extremely important. Learning to drive and drive safe must start with age of majority i.e 18 years. Impress that with big power comes big responsibility. Help him choose his stream and field of education which is most suited for him or the one he strongly wishes to take.