From the moment a child is born, he has to be helped at every step in order to be successful in life and parents are the ones who have to hold his hand and guide him. They teach him to eat, to walk and to be aware of dangerous situations. These have to be practiced over and over again. When parents are actively monitoring various developmental activities then children are quick to learn and progress faster to the next step.
Children learn more quickly and efficiently if they enjoy the process and also if the outcome is desirable. If an infant wants a toy which is at a distance from him, then he tries to move towards it. He may not succeed at first but he keeps trying to move his arms, body and legs and eventually finds a way to move. Then he keeps repeating the same method of locomotion.
When the child is a little older, routine work can be turned into a lesson. When bathing or changing clothes, body parts can be pointed out and named. Start with one or two parts and keep repeating for a week or so till the child is able to point them out when asked. Then name more parts one by one taking care to include the earlier ones every day. Same way familiarise with colours and objects such as chair, table and other things the child uses. This naming connection must be made on the spot e.g. say “here is your red ball” when you give him the ball. In the park show him a soft flower or a rough stone. He will retain the lesson when he can see the difference.
A child learns social skills when he plays with others of his age group. He learns to share, to get along with others, the use of words to express himself and role play when pretending to be mother or father. These are of importance in later life.
At two years of age, a child can be introduced to the alphabet. This should be done in a non-formal way by way of songs or play cards. Read books to the child having bright pictures, interesting stories and simple sentences. Once he sits with you teach him the alphabet very slowly. Review often and don’t worry if the child forgets. Always praise and encourage him so that he is eager to learn. The child should not feel frustrated or burdened.
Numbers can be taught using blocks or some toys. First teach from one to five and increase only once the child has mastered these. Steps can be counted on the slide or magazines on the table. Make learning fun so maths is not an abstract subject. Use small balls to teach addition and subtraction. Place two balls first, ask the child to count them and then put one more. Ask him to count again. He can then see two plus one. Same way subtraction can be taught. Later symbols representing these numbers can be taught.
A number of educational toys are available in the market which enhances reading and maths. Also some good programs like Sesame Street are telecast on television. Parents can use these to make learning a fun and enriching experience for their child and watch him do well in school.