PHOTO: CT kids

By Odumodu Gbulagu

Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it. ~ proverbs 22:6
The above biblical passage simply highlights the importance of good parental upbringing of the child.

During the first few years of life, children learn a lot about themselves and the world around them, and parents are their first teachers.

The ages of 1-8 years is the period that a child goes through the most rapid phase of growth and development. Their brains develop faster than at any other point in their lives, so these years are critical in moulding them.
The foundations for their social skills, self-esteem, perception of the world and moral outlook are established during these years, as well as the development of cognitive skills.

A kid’s education starts from home. Parents are their first teachers and they have a key role in shaping up their character.
Parents teach them how to speak, how to walk, how to feed themselves.
Decision making, health and hygiene, time management, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc are also taught.
Mannerism, discipline and the sense of sharing with others are inculcated in them and these lessons stay with them and evolve with each crucial phase of their life.

Just few days ago, the story of the 8 year old Tanitoluwa Adewumi who won the New York chess championship filtered in and was celebrated at every quarter.
Imagine an 8 year old!
If he didn’t learn at a very early age, it would be practically impossible to win such championship at 8.

Michael Jackson became a star at 5 years of age because his talent was harnessed very early.
He was caught young.

I developed a knack for politics and writing as a kid, because I enjoyed passing the night with my father, who always listened to BBC world service and VOA news very early in the morning from his radio.
Out of curiosity, and to understand what interests him in those barely audible English from people inside the radio, I kept asking him questions and he kept explaining in details.
Before I knew it, I became conversant with world politics, and started understanding every word said by the broadcasters.

Children tend to follow the examples of the parents more than their advice.
That’s why it’s often not good to do certain things in the presence of kids, because it sinks easily in their subconscious mind.

Parents should therefore learn to talk with their kids and even spend enough time everyday to talk to them even amidst tight schedules.

Learn from them about their concerns or doubts, about any happenings in and out of school. Make sure that they are not worried about any thoughts or scary things and give them moral support for the problems they are facing, build their confidence, and teach them some measure of independence, create a reward system for them as it motivates them too.

Teach them arts and crafts, and encourage them where necessary.
Our art of storytelling or folklore plays very important roles in moulding our kids.
Read with them and help with home works with every little chance you get.

Teach them life skills and valuable lessons at that tender age, and they will use it throughout their lifetime.
Don’t wait until they are in high school to teach them how to handle real life situations.

Working with children requires patience, dedication and sensitivity. Trying to keep up with them can be exhausting, but if you’re up to the challenge, it can also be extremely rewarding.

Catching our kids young makes way for better adults, bright future, and indeed a better society.

Odumodu Gbulagu can be reached on: