Preparing your child for a successful future in their educational or professional experiences has become a priority for many parents. Enrolling your child in several extracurricular activities is commonly seen as promising for children as it exposes them to social situations, new skill sets, and expanded perspectives. However, while there are certainly benefits to structuring your child’s day-to-day life, there are a number of detriments that can hinder their development and future success.
Limited Opportunities for Growth
Though it may seem counterintuitive, over-structuring your child’s life actually limits their developmental capabilities. Without free time to play and structure their own schedules, children are limited in their ability to develop essential skills like imagination, critical thinking, and creativity. Forcing a child to participate and learn something is not conducive to long-term success; in fact, signing your child up for clubs, sports teams, or classes that they will not particularly enjoy can actually strip away their desire to learn and grow.
High Stress Levels
Children who are highly involved can feel overwhelmed and anxious. Much of this can be attributed to the lack of unstructured time and the high expectations of parents and instructors. Rather than enjoying recreational activities, particularly imaginative play that occurs outside, children instead feel obligated to prioritize the extracurricular activities their parents assign them. Children who experience these high levels of stress as a result of being overscheduled often report having trouble sleeping and feeling exhausted, as well.
Excessive Pressure for Success
Enrolling a child in activities that take up time after school and on the weekends not only limits their free time but also increases the amount of pressure they feel. Whether they are participating in music lessons, sports teams, additional schooling, or other pursuits, children may feel that they are expected to excel in every activity regardless of their interest and skill level. Because of this, children may actually experience a decline in productivity and a further increase in stress; depending on the responsibilities placed upon them by school or parents, children may be unable to devote sufficient time to each activity, which will inevitably result in a lack of success. When they are unable to succeed and meet expectations, children could experience a decline in self-esteem, confidence, and motivation.
Getting your child involved in extracurricular activities can be beneficial, but it is important to refrain from over-structuring your child’s life as doing so can negatively impact their development.
Building a child’s vocabulary is the first step to ensuring their success in school. When children are learning to read, their existing vocabulary will be the basis on which they form their reading and communication skills. It helps them understand what they are reading, allowing a greater amount of comprehension. For this reason, it is important to work to improve your child’s vocabulary.
You can expose your child to new words simply by conversing with them on a regular basis. Don’t be afraid to use words that the child might not immediately understand; allowing them to organically learn how to use context clues to determine the meaning of a word will help them develop necessary critical thinking skills and prepare them for learning words on their own. Another way to improve a child’s vocabulary is to read to them each day. Every time you read a book with a child, they learn new sounds and new words.
With both of these methods, your child will use the context to begin understanding new words. When this happens, you have the perfect opportunity to provide additional aid by explaining the definition of the new words as you understand them. You should be able to explain it in a child-friendly way while also explaining to them how that new word fits into the story or conversation.
If your child asks what a word means, try to explain it to them as thoroughly as possible, and then work to help them permanently remember the new words.
When trying to teach children new words, it is important that you incorporate it into your regular speech as often as possible. Doing this will help cement its context, meaning, and function in your child’s mind.
It is also important to limit the number of words you are teaching to your child at one time. While repeating a few words in regular conversation can help foster understanding, trying to do so with more than five words can hinder the child’s progress.
You should strive to provide concrete examples of words that can help your child understand the meanings of the words. If the word is a noun, for example, you can show the child a picture depicting the word. For other words like adjectives or verbs, you should try to find images or examples that can help root the word in something tangible. One example of this is, if your child is learning a word that describes a new texture, you can give them something that has the same texture.
Once your child understands the example, you can ask your child to provide another example. By having your child come up with another example all on their own, you are further enforcing the new word while also encouraging critical thinking skills.
Improving a child’s vocabulary is one of the best ways to ensure their success in school and beyond. By teaching them the meaning behind words and how to use context to understand additional words, you will encourage a learning process that can help guide them throughout their life.
Imaginary friends are common inventions from children who seek additional interaction beyond their families and classmates. Though you may be inclined to think imaginary friends are detrimental to social abilities or general wellbeing, regularly engaging with imaginary friends can be beneficial to a child’s development.
From your perspective, your child might have fixated on a certain stuffed toy or has simply made acquaintance with the empty air beside them. From your child’s perspective, on the other hand, an imaginary friend could take on any shape or form. Ask your child what his or her imaginary friend looks like if you’re curious.
Most kids with imaginary friends are either firstborn or only children, but any kid can think up an imaginary friend. This doesn’t mean that they’re lonely or feeling isolated, though this can sometimes be the case. Making an imaginary friend could be a sign of early creativity. In fact, children can create characters in their mind from the time they are infants.
There’s nothing wrong with your child having an imaginary friend. It can actually benefit them in their growth and development. The following are a few traits your child can develop from interacting with their imaginary friends.
Engaging with an imaginary friend gives child plenty of practice with casual conversation. Although imaginary friends can’t seem to talk back, in your child’s head, they might be quite the conversationalists. Regularly engaging in verbal conversation, even with an imaginary partner, can facilitate natural linguistic and social development.
Even with real friends, a child can benefit from having an imaginary friend who is accessible at all times. When experiencing changes like family restructuring, changing schools, or simply growing up, having a friend to help ease that transition can alleviate some of the stress and better prepare children to deal with future changes on their own.
Thinking of an imaginary friend requires some level of creativity. Encouraging the development of a child’s imagination can help foster strong creative skills which will aid in problem-solving, artistic pursuits, and essential skills like reading and speaking.
There may be moments when you feel that a child is too old for an imaginary friend or that they should focus on making tangible friendships, but if you understand the benefits of having imaginary friends when it comes to childhood development, you can more easily support and encourage a child’s imaginary creation and interaction.
About Little Seeds of Carroll Gardens
Little Seeds of Carroll Gardens is a childcare center focused on providing individualized enrichment and education to every child that comes through their doors. The center is leading the way for child growth and development with their innovative and engaging methods such as play-based learning programs and field trips. Little Seeds not only provides a safe and affordable place for children but fosters a love of learning that will continue for the rest of their lives.
With a philosophy that cultivates mutual respect, exploration, creativity and a genuine love for their work, Little Seeds of Carroll Gardens has become the gold standard for childcare in their community. The center is open year-round and caters to children aged three months to five years. Parents can rest assured their children are receiving top-notch care and education with the many programs offered. Not only do the programs teach children the basics of Math, Science, Music, Art, Computer Skills, and Movement, but Little Seeds takes them a step further. The highly educated instructors transform each lesson into not only a challenge but a way to make learning each subject exciting and enjoyable.
Little Seeds of Carroll Gardens believes in teaching children about their local culture and history in addition to their traditional subjects. The students are often taken on field trips to local museums such as the New York Aquarium, The Museum of Natural History, and other engaging resources New York City has to offer. By doing this, the children are taught how to be citizens of their community and have a greater appreciation for the world in which they are growing up.
Learning through play is a highly effective method in which children can learn to make sense of the world around them while simultaneously developing social and cognitive skills to ensure they grow not only mentally, but socially and emotionally as well. Play-based learning programs have been shown to increase self-confidence and social skills as well as fostering a sense of fulfillment after completing physical and mental challenges. Students often don’t realize they are learning essential skills that will ensure lifelong success because they are enjoying themselves so much. Little Seeds of Carroll Gardens has incorporated this innovation into each of their classes with tremendous success.
Little Seeds of Carroll Gardens is a childcare center with immense heart and an exceptional portfolio of programs offered. Each child receives personalized care and learns the skills needed to excel in and outside of the classroom. Little Seeds provides programs that are engaging and encourage children to explore the world as they see it and to learn by doing while having fun. There is no other place quite like Little Seeds in New York City where children are excited to come each day to learn and interact with the world around them.
- We encourage not just learning, but also the love of learning.
- We believe in providing a physical environment that is safe, clean, healthy, and oriented to children.
- Activity areas allow children the opportunity to explore, to experience, and most importantly, to succeed.