C’est reparti pour un tour !! New years resolutions…
3 points to guide parents on planning their children’s activities
My birthday is on the 31st December. Every January I wake up seeing another Christmas past, another year older and a whole new year to tackle. You can’t help but feel the need to reevaluate and plan ahead.
For parents this is not only about us but also about our children: One of the decisions parents often reevaluate at this time of year is deciding which activities to enrol their children in, whatever their age there are so many to choose from!!
Over the years, running my French Lessons Club, I have seen a lot of parents feeling the pressure and a lot of children being overwhelmed. And as a mother, I learned the hard way through experience too!
SOME POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING
- What YOU think is important for your child’s development
- Don’t get pressured into doing the same activities as your friends. Although I do not mean to ignore recommendations obviously but first really think what you are looking for and what your child needs.
- A good class will emphasize on one aspect of development (whether physical or language related) whithout ignoring how a child learns and it will naturally involves other areas of learning. For instance during our French classes, French is taught through many multi-sensory, creative and physical activities so children will not only learn the language but also improve their fine and gross motor skills. And during a gym class with singing, play and storytelling young children will not only develop their gross motor skills but also improve their language skills!
2. You want your child to be happy, to flourish and learn
- Whether it is because he does not like the activity or this is something he is not at ease with or that the teaching methods are not suitable and fun. If your child is not happy during the sessions, he will not learn well, full stop!!
- Once you have chosen, you can ask for a trial lesson. But bare in mind that one session is not always enough to know if the class suits your child. It takes time to get used to a new environment. Some children will participate immediately, others will need to observe a few times before doing so. Some will cry when dropped off at first…
- You need to give your child the opportunity first to discover, then experiment and eventually learn!
- You must not organise too many classes as it could be overwhelming in a lot of aspects and be counter productive
3. You should expect a safe and nurturing environment
- Check that the staff are caring and have clear guidelines to support educationally and emotionally the children, under their care.
- Check that the staff have the necessary information about your child such as your telephone numbers and any medical or other relevant information
- Check that there is at least one member of staff fully first aid trained on sight.
- Check that the doors stay locked during sessions (as so many groups are in church halls with no caretakers).
Ah non ! There is one more important point, children who are overwhelmed with activities every day, have a hard time retaining new information. Plus, free play is a crucial aspect of child development. Whichever activities you opt for, make sure to allow time for unstructured play so that children have the freedom to test out their new skills.
I often have parents commenting with things like “I heard my child asking questions in French to her doll!” or “My little one likes to count his dinosaurs in French, unprompted.”
It’s truly amazing what our children are capable of when we give them the chance to experiment and digest in their own ways!