May 15th is the International Day of Families. Created by the United Nations, it’s an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families.
Families play a critical role in early childhood development (ECD), and there is an opportunity to better engage parents in understanding early childhood development, to facilitate positive child development.
“The role of family on a child is fundamental in the development of character, humour, endurance, peer-relations and tolerance of others. It is how children learn how to engage with others,” explains Dr. Lauren Stretch, founder and MD of Early Inspiration. “Family also plays a vital role in providing a sense of belonging for children. It is the first place where children learn to love, and are loved, where children are exposed to various emotions and ‘taught’ how to respond to various emotions.”
And it is in family units that children develop a sense of security and belonging, and values and morals are instilled which create confident children and adults, determined for success later in life.
Much of what children learns is from their family, through modelling and unintentional learning. As individuals, what we know today has been learnt from previous personal interactions. What is a priority to you, is based on priorities established when you were growing up. “For example, a child that is brought up in a family with values that including saving money or giving monthly to those less privileged or a church would mostly, by default, continue this pattern and this way of life as they start their own families and lead their own homes,” explains Dr. Stretch.
The overarching message for parents is to include children in every day, nurturing life, where they are loved, talked with, played with and are well nourished; where they can socialise and explore and are kept safe from chronically chaotic or abusive environments. Celebrate your family today, and every day.
Author: Kimberley Clare Ogden
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