The Parent’s Role During the PreK-12 Years
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that parents play a crucial role in their child’s development during the preK-12 years. The way you interact with them, the things you teach, and the behavior you model all help your child to fully develop into adulthood. Can you accurately assess what your role is during these fundamental years?
You won’t have to wonder what your role is any longer with these simple guidelines. Take a look at where your child falls age-wise and what you can do to help foster healthy growth today.
PreK through Elementary School
At this age, parents will see a tremendous amount of cognitive growth. It’s a great time to help reinforce some of the basic lessons that they will learn in school related to math and literacy. Children will need consistency to help them truly master these essential skills. You can do your part by helping them to sound out words, identify letters on store signs, and count things as you walk through the neighborhood.
If you see an opportunity to teach your child something, this is a great time to take advantage of the moment.
Parents should also be responsible for modeling appropriate social behavior. You may need to give your child a lot of reassurance in these early years. Hugging them and holding them can give you a closer connection, particularly if you have an anxious child. Responsive parenting like this has been shown to help supplement a child’s developmental needs.
However, you also need to teach them what appropriate boundaries look like with friends. They should start to learn the difference between right and wrong. This will help to set them up for success later on in life.
Children in middle school can often take care of their cognitive development on their own. Teachers are available to help answer their math questions and help children build essential skills. As a parent, your role will shift slightly during this time as you help to foster a love of learning instead.
You should help your child to explore their passions and interests, whether that means researching something at the local library or strolling through a museum. Teach them about things that apply to their everyday lives, such as government or the local news. Depending on their school, you may even be able to encourage them to join a club or participate in a sport.
Many children start to pull away from their parents during this time as they foster a newfound sense of independence. Be sure to keep the lines of communication open, and start discussing the changes that will come with puberty. While it may make your child squirm, it’s important that they know what to expect. You could arrange for the family doctor to have this conversation with them instead.
By high school, children are getting ready to spread their wings into adulthood. You can help by giving them more freedom to make decisions. However, you may not feel comfortable with this freedom unless you know who their friends are and where they’ll be going. Discuss the importance of open communication with your child so you can rest easier with this shift in your relationship.
Talk often about the future, and assist them in making plans to achieve their goals. You should be offering them plenty of encouragement to pursue their dreams. Help them to envision what life would look like if they did or did not reach their goals. This can give them some space to consider alternatives and possibly discover new things.
Parenting your child is an extremely important job, but your role will change as your child ages. You should know what to expect from each and every stage of development. This can help you to better encourage and assist your child with their normal growth. Using these guidelines, you can find out what you can do to support your child’s learning and social development today.