By: Elizabeth A. Abiona
16 Key areas you must care about while raising child starting early in childhood
Nothing beats the joy of motherhood! Absolutely, we can’t also deny the fact that having knowledge of the important child care tips is very essential for successful child upbringing. Raising a child is time consuming despite it is not an easy task.
I understand this not because I am a mother of beautiful and handsome kids but because I’m also educator with many years of experience handling kids. I have served in various capacity that centered more on raising children in homes and in class base settings starting early in childhood.
Often times, I’d help many parents/guardians out of diverse kind of difficulties they face while raising their respective children. Less I digress, in other words, what you are about reading herein is put together for parents/guardians to know and as a guide on key areas you must care about while raising a child that fall within age bracket 2years to 6 years old starting early in childhood.
This also concerns teachers, educators, caregivers and all kids lovers. We need to be well informed on how best to care and grow children of nowadays considering the rapid changes taking place in the world. Think growing the future generation is a collective effort to make the world a better place for all. Please feel free to…
Coming back to our discussion, aside the rapid changes, the economy also pose challenges for guardians to this extent that mothers whose duty are more about raising the child are becoming seriously affected. I mean, most of our time is now spent more on going extra miles to put food on the table than anything else.
Majority of women are now forced to join the work force in other to support or enhance income to meet the needs of our immediate family which in turn is shifting our focus away from proper child care and this is immensely affecting quality child care.
The question is; how can parents/guardian strike balance for quality child care not to be affected? What role can teachers and caregiver play to also help raise children with quality care they deserve?
Honestly, this and many related questions are what parents do ask me. Please read on to find answers to this immediate needs bordering majority of us.
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Important child care tips and guide
Key areas to care about while raising a child
There are many areas we need to educate ourselves on as we bring up a child, without leaving one out or letting one outweigh the other for balance purposes. However, I will lay strong emphasis on sixteen key areas that must to be cared for herein this article which are the areas I’m focused on, up and doing raising my kids and other children I encounter.
A child who doesn’t know right from wrong may be a toddler would only wear what the mother puts on him/her without complain about liking it or not except if the clothing is making him/her feel uncomfortable then you can see the sign like crying.
As a mother, toddlers should have varieties of clothes for different occasions and season just as you have yours. Toddler’s wardrobe must be filled with overalls, shirts, socks, blouses, creepers, pants, dresses, slips and suits which are convenient and suitable for diverse occasions and season.
Pants and leggings with elastics grips are good take for toddler. Zippers, snaps/buttons are not the best choice for this age group and such should be avoided. Such can be harmful if their skin is caught in between while they are fidgeting with the zipper or snaps. Buttons also can be damaged by them while trying to undress themselves when feeling uncomfortable in a particular clothing.
Often times, toddlers and preschoolers might want to protest against getting them dressed because they enjoy being naked. Be patient with and also show them the importance of wearing cloth. Be cautious to sit your toddlers and preschoolers down and gently work their hands into the sleeves and their neck in the appropriate places and you will discover that as time goes on, they will be the one to give you their hands whenever you are putting a cloth on them.
There are many fabrics out there which might be a source of allergy to children skin. Pay close attention to what kinds of gears you buy and put on a child. Soft, tender, washable and tumble dry pure cotton clothing are always the best for kids.
Pay attention to how he/she feels thereafter you wear it on him/her. If they start crying, scratching their body and showing discomfort then their skins might be sensitive to that particular material or fabrics so change it immediately to avoid discomfort, pain and cries. Cloths are best fit when they are not too loose or too tight. Be cautious of the season also to know which type of gear that is appropriate for the weather condition.
Dress your kids in bright colorful outfits. Avoid dull or pale colors because kids are always associated with bright and colorful things. No matter the gender, let there be a mix of cool colors like pink, white, blue, yellow, green and so on in your child’s wardrobe to make them look good and beautiful when they are dressed. And ensure their clothing are washed clean with soap that suits each fabric for it not to lose its texture and color, dry and ironed always.
- Food and Nutrition
One of, if not the most essential part of child’s body system growth and development. Just at the moment/stage when the child’s brain begins to develop and thereafter breastfeeding, children need to be feed with good diets and nutritious food.
Your child is not to be fed on whatever you see though times are hard. However, parents must make sure they provide good food for themselves and their child. Whatever you want to feed a child must be what will enhance his/her health and body system growth and function. Food must be taken in the proper amount or ratio and at appropriate time.
For a child to be physically and mentally sound, the right portion of each classes of food is required e.g.
- Protein containing foods like almonds, oats, milk, yoghurt to build, repair and maintain their muscle tissues.
- Carbohydrates like potatoes (sweet), breads, rice in good amount to supply them energy since they are mostly hyperactive (sports, playing) at early stage.
- Foods rich in fibers like fruits which are best to be taken before meal. Vegetables to aid their digestions and gives great bowel movements.
- Fats to provide energy too most especially omega-3 and 6 fatty acids.
- Ensure they also take enough water so they don’t feel dehydrated.
Sufficient vitamin intakes must be adhered to in order to improve your child health status for example
- Eyesight, bone formation and skins (Vitamin A).
- Metabolism and production of red blood cells (Vitamin. B).
- Repairing of wounds, blood cells, tissues and bones (Vitamin C).
- Calcium providing vitamins for strong teeth and bones (Vitamin D).
- Boosting of immune system (Vitamin E). Enhancing blood clot (Vitamin K).
All mentioned above must be introduced to your child in the right proportion and balanced equation to avoid deficiency of any kind. Please do ensure this for all category of children. Avoid late night feeding. Avoid taking heavy food in the morning. Do not over feed. Prepare meal in a neat and hygienic environment.
- Health and hygiene
Nothing beats being hygienic and healthy! A healthy child makes a happy family because no family can be happy with treating sick child every time. One of the key to long life and balanced life is good health. Parent/Guardian most especially mothers, must make sure that below listed things are orderly implemented:
- Bathe a child thoroughly and make them clean always.
- Wear good and clean clothes on them. apply awesome cream or lotions so they can smell good.
- Feed them healthy foods as earlier mentioned.
- Take care of the home environment they use and ensure harmful objects are kept out of reach.
- Get rid of their finger nails, cut their hair or make them neatly weaved.
Try your best to make them appear neat and well-kept every day. This is applicable to your toddler and preschooler. Just ensure that your school age child can equally observe the above mentioned under close supervision. Your child will only be attractive to people and admired by them when you keep them always clean.
- Safety and precautions
Safety is one of the important rules we follow in life whether as an adult or kids. Children are more exposed to dangers when they are still small because they don’t understand what they are doing wrong. That is why it is very important for parents/guardians to be vigilant over their young ones
For example, when raising a toddler, you must create space where he/she can be free to play around. Arrangement of furniture, fixtures and other household items are to be arranged in a way that it will not cause accident for a kids playing around at home.
Create more space for an active preschooler for they are always trying to use their motor skill so they will definitely bump into something if the space is too tight or the arrangement is too rigid to navigate about.
You must keep a close eye on this age group (toddlers and preschoolers). It also good to involve yourself in their play. Direct them in the way to go or do things when and where necessary. Remove dangerous liquid contents and sharp objects from within reach. Also make sure they don’t have access to the windows.
Communicating with a child goes farther than the way majority of nowadays parent see it. Effective communication with a child will make a parent easily know and understand his/her kids. A parent who institutes good rapport through effective communication with his/her child can easily tell what a child is about saying amidst odds.
It is very important to always communicate and converse with your toddlers, preschoolers and school age. Ways you can communicate with a toddler for example is when he/she murmurs a word, you murmur it back and you notice they burst into a smiles good you smiles along. Other ways is to sing poems and rhymes.
Preschoolers are at least about to be speaking and at this stage you can read stories to them, sing songs and rhymes together. Use endearing words like “Common, bring that to mummy”, “Mummy is here waiting” with open hands, let them feel your presence and develop bonds with you, help them with language skills, communicate with hands and voice, know when they are tired, what they want and give them choices.
A school age is all yours to make good friends and always create room for interactive section like reading story book together, listening to news and other related things like watching films and educational cartoons that can make you both bond, form gist and not gossip. By so doing, you are not only building his/her communication skills but also helping to instill social skill and express feelings.
Play is one of the best activity a child can engage in that makes them learn with no limitation. Kids during toddling stage in live needs play to stay fit and build up their strength and same is applicable to your preschooler too.
Toddlers often play alone most times because they can’t initiate or suggest playing to others. They just engage at play on their own and have fun while doing things their own way. Toddlers brains are not developed yet to understand certain rules surrounding playing or games, they just play as they deem fit. Sure, it nothing to worry about. However, be close to watch he/she forms play at a safe place.
Give a preschooler and toddler child room to play. Children within the age bracket 2 years to 6 years all love to play. Allow them to play as much as they like. Parents can also help enhance their play by building them a mini house or park in the house where they can engage in free play.
Join your child at play, walk with him/her, run by his/her side, let them climb couches or if possible stairs while you guide them, give them a ball to throw this and many other form of play will make happy, sound and healthy and will also learn lots we can not simply teach him or her.
Even as adults, we can’t cheat nature, we need plenty of rest to function and carry out our daily tasks and that’s just the same for our kids. In a day, your toddler should be able to sleep eleven to fourteen hours in total with ten to twelve hours in the night and others during the day so recommended.
Your toddler or preschooler child doesn’t understand the need to sleep. He/she would not want to stay in bed most time and won’t sleep up just from you laying them on the bed. However, you can build or train them in the way to sleep by sticking to a routine.
Once you start putting your child to bed 7pm every night, as time goes on they start to sleep by themselves at that time. Thence, it would not be difficult for them to sleep anymore when he/she has master to sleep around that time.
Make the environment favorable to their sleep. Good bed, well laid, room free of noise and dull lighting is sure the best. Teach your preschooler, toddler or school age child to always make use of the bedroom when need to sleep arise. Sleeping on sitting room chairs and related furniture is not the best.
Music player and related noisy entertainment gadgets need to be put off or at very low volume where their is need to leave it on and that will not disturb his/her sleep. You can also play classical songs or tunes that are calming to aid your kids sleep however, at a very low volume, so that will not be a source of distraction.
Ensure kids do not eat too much or heavy food when it is close to bedtime in order not to make them uncomfortable or suffer from indigestion. Your toddler or preschooler unlike school age child will like you stay beside them in bed. It is not the best doing to just put them on the bed and disappear.
Make sure to cover them well, position them well, pat them gently. Ensure that their room is free of mosquitoes and also be sure they are deeply asleep before you leave them.
Toddlers are easy to handle and but can be difficult at the same time if you don’t understand them. Your toddler child doesn’t like you when you are too stern and always yelling at him/her. Please don’t get him/her confused or make him/her frightened. Handle a toddler with care and understanding. Same is applicable to your preschooler child. Be caring and tender and readily he/she we follow your instructions.
Try and be calm with your toddler, preschooler or school age child in every situation and you will see that you will learn and understand him/her better. I mean to say that there is no better way to treat a child that falls within this age group than for parents/guardians to bring self to their level.
Do not think like them but understand how they think and act. Kids don’t like to be stressed. Unnecessary distraction can also affect your toddler or preschooler thinking. Whatever could make your toddler start whining means he/she is not comfortable. A cry could be something more severe. As a parent you have to be very observant. Watch closely, speak to, ask showing empathy so that you can know what really went wrong.
A toddler may not be able to speak but by crying and whining will express is feelings. As for preschooler; though might not still know how best to say or use right words for what going on with him/her but few questioning can help you to know what going wrong with him/her. Talk him/her on to know and help them express feelings. Your school age would understand a lot and can also speak, do engage him/her in talk to know better where and when necessary.
When they prove stubborn, you can also discipline them by ignoring them. Walk away from them or put them in time out to make them realize what they did wrong, they have brain too so they understand that your action is as a result of what wrong he/she has done.
Before you put your child in a daycare, ensure that the standard of the daycare meets the upbringing of your child. Don’t put your kid in a daycare where they would only cry and stare all day, it would create a negative impact.
Your child‘s daycare should be able to develop their social skills, their cognitive abilities, their motor skills and even their talking skills. When they are in the midst of their peers, they would be able to pick up one or two things and learn.
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The day care should provide them with abundance of children songs and rhymes, understand every child individually and have teachers or caregivers who are calm, patient and not aggressive. According to research by experts, it has been proven that daycare centers have a long lasting impact on a child’s social and emotional development skills which helps them a lot later in life.
Spare the rod and spoil the child, they say. Don’t hesitate to discipline a toddler, preschooler or school age when they do something wrong. I am not saying to hit them with cane and whips; no I am not emphasizing spanking either but, there are ways to caution, control them and make them feel sober.
Immediately your kid do something wrong, show them and tell them that they are wrong. Toddler child may not understand but they know when you react against any of their wrong behavior. Kids can sense they are being scolded. A preschooler may have started talking, you can hear him/her out.
Hear out what your school age want to say before you pass judgement. Try to understand your school age. Control and correct but do not condemn. Condemnation can lead to demoralization and low esteem. Be prepared for the trouble they will cause because it’s inevitable.
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A kid as young as a month can be disciplined, the moment they hit you and laugh, step on you and smile when you wince in pain then you know that the kid knows what they are doing definitely. In disciplining a child, be diplomatic with it so they don’t feel lax and run back to their attitude when they see that you overlook.
Education is the key and that is an undisputable fact. Begin to train their cognitive skills, help them to think, learn and solve problems through the use of toys, playing hide and seek games, telling them to sort out objects according to shapes and colors, build towers using block toys and lots more.
They should learn complex concepts pertaining to shapes, alphabets, counting, they should also be able to form sentences or at least put two or three words together.
- Spiritual exercise
Spiritual development doesn’t necessarily mean religion, we are not saying to make your child religious but help the, to be aware of some qualities and be comfortable with them.
These qualities which are respect, responsibility, acknowledging people’s difference without fear or hatred, having passion to help people, developing loving attitude, gestures and nature and striving to make the world a better place by taking action.
You can help them meditate and polish their sense of meaning and purpose in relation to cultures, religion and community you live in or come from which already consist of beliefs, values and ethics we live by.
Looking at it from a Christian’s point of view, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and that is what the Bible says. Make sure your toddlers and preschoolers are fed daily with the word of life, maintain the act of professing good things in them and speak of only good things around them.
Hold their hands to pray with them, since they are good at emulation at that stage, close your eyes to focus and as time goes by they will also learn how to close their eyes whenever you hold their hands to pray with them.
Read the Bible to them and let them know them understand the repercussion of anything they do either good or bad in accordance to the bible while also citing relevant examples. If they are very conversant with the word of God at early stage, it will be difficult for them to throw away and derail while growing up because it is what they have been used to and fed with.
To be able to finance and support a child is not easy but as a parent, you should have a stable source of income before you embark on the journey of giving birth to a child to provide them with sufficient funds and support at any stage of life. A child supported in every aspect financially will be contented with what they have.
To make them understand about spending and making money, you should play imaginary games like pretending store or restaurant, arrange empty cartons and tins with labels and play buying and selling with them.
And also teach them the names of all money notes, the sizes, colors and the feelings to get them used to it and also, don’t forget to upgrade their knowledge as they grow.
As your child grows, you need to study what they fear and what they are scared of, let them understand that it’s okay to be scared but you are there to protect and keep them safe, embrace their fear with them and help them work on it.
In case of any emergency, explain whatever is happening to them slowly in the best way to help them understand and if they are frightened or terrified, give them a warm hug to help them acknowledge that fear.
It’s easy to control emergencies when they have a fixed routine because they understand what to do per time and that gives you an upper hand in minimizing the level of damages.
Even you as a mother, should take a deep breath first and calm down a little so you can handle the situation, channel the complaint to the right channel and follow all safety measures and instructions laid down.
Teach your children the emergency code and how to dial them, provide them with the assurance that everything will be well, let them know about first aid. If you are wondering if all these are possible, they are, with continuous practices.
As a parent(s), give your child the authority to the environment, let them attend playschools and hobby classes, take them to the playground or amusement park where they can easily make friends, give them a chance to participate in sports and events alongside other children.
One must set a good example as a parent by having a great social skill(s) because it will, by one way or the other, affect the child. A mother always indoors will have her baby indoors too and that will drain the child’s socializing energy over time.
Make sure even in their playtime, they are also learning indirectly, be it counting, color, shapes and sizes differences. Let them join the other children in the community to play house, block building or stacking throwing balls, painting and so on, with this they can make friends who will stay with them and vice versa as they grow.
- Physical activity
There is no age too small to teach children, just get what is appropriate for a certain age, input it in them daily and make them live by it, advance their knowledge as they grow and make sure everything is well balanced.
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Frankly, our childhood is reflected in our adulthood no matter how we try to conceal it, so make sure you give your child a proper upbringing so he/she too can also contribute to making the world a better place and give you peace of mind on your end.
A well brought up child will give his/her parents peace of mind. As a parent, make sure you put in your best to grow your kids and spend time with them. Child care and development is not only at a certain time, it’s continues as they grow so don’t stop it. Teachers, educators and caregivers are not exempted, you are there to admonish and enhance parents efforts in achieving best result. When you observe tips and guides mentioned above, you will be able to raise your hand as one of the world best parents making the future a better place for all.