Ask any parent their greatest wish, and they will almost certainly respond with “for my child to be happy and healthy.” We all just want our little ones to move through life as easily as possible and for them to be able to reach their full potential.
Although we can’t control exactly how our kids’ lives will turn out, there are certain things we can do to set them up for success – starting from a young age.
Here are some ways to give your little human the big start they deserve.
Surround them with books
Reading is a skill many of us take for granted, but it does not come easily for all children. For context, a 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) found that of the 14,000 Australian students tested, the percentage of illiterate 15-year-olds had grown to almost 20 per cent. Around 40 per cent of Australian students were unable to read at a “proficient standard”.
The consequences of poor literacy include trouble finding employment later in life as well as greater difficulty in making healthy choices.
By reading to our little ones, and encouraging them to develop a love of books, we can not only set them up for success, but also identify any obstacles to literacy earlier.
Teach them important life skills
Equipping children with key life skills such as cooking, cleaning, the value of things and personal hygiene can help them become more independent and self-sufficient adults.
We know that a great way to encourage learning is through play and the LEGO® DUPLO® Organic Market really supports this by enabling kids to operate a fruit and vegetable stand and about shopping, conscious living and sustainable eating! Little ones can have lots of fun flexing their entrepreneurial skills as they sell their produce to mum, dad, siblings and friends – all the while learning the full circle of growing, harvesting and selling, the value of food and paying for what you purchase.
Let them explore their interests
As much as we might dream of having a child who shares our interests or follows in our footsteps, it is so important to allow them to find their own path.
Encourage your child to explore their interests and try new things – it could be a dance class, a new sport, art classes or even language classes.
By exposing our kids to plenty of different opportunities to learn and be inspired, we can really help them discover their passions and talents. This, in turn, can lead to more fulfilling careers and a wealth of valuable life experiences.
Encourage physical activity
We all know how important this one is (and how tricky it can be sometimes when the lure of the screen is ever present!).
Regular physical activity is important for a child’s physical and mental health. Encourage them to participate in sports, dance, or other physical activities they enjoy – and get involved too! Modeling positive behaviour is a key component of setting our kids up for success, so get outside with them to throw a ball around, participate in a local park run, or go for a family hike. The benefits will be tenfold and long lasting.
Help them fall in love with nature
It has been shown that kids who find a connection with nature reap the benefits of skills such as empathy, teamwork, communication and imagination – all of which are amazing life skills to possess. So, when we are looking to give our children the big start they deserve, it can start as simply as getting out into the garden!
As Gen Muir from Connected Parenting explains, “Nature play provides many lifelong benefits across physical health, mental health and academic competency. More than ever as parents we want our kids to have a deep understanding of their role in nurturing the world they live in.
We know that nature-based learning and education improves a child’s academic performance and critical thinking, but it also fosters compassion for living things which is so important for our children now and in the future.”
To further support this connection to nature, the LEGO DUPLO Organic Market and Growing Carrot teach kids all about ecosystems and how food grows, which is also a powerful way to get them excited about sustainability!
Help them develop a strong work ethic
This may seem like something that can wait until your child is a tween or teen but it is actually never too early to start teaching kids about the value of hard work. The LEGO DUPLO Organic Market can really come in handy here as it encourages learning through play. Why not try talking through the process of setting up the market, dealing with customers and packing the market up at the end of the day to spark those early conversations about work ethic.
Alternatively, you could use the LEGO® DUPLO® Fruit and Vegetable Tractor to explain to your little one all about farming and the work that goes into producing organic food.
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