There is a school of thought that says children of highly educated and affluent children have a better chance of doing well in life because of their access to resources, wealth, and quality healthcare and education.
Now all of that is true but do you know there are a lot of very simple and inexpensive things that parents of modest means can do to also set their children up for success based on popular, traditional and modern theories?
I am a double law-degree holder, and from my own personal experiences and from knowing the patterns and practices of my friends, many of whom come from affluent and highly educated households and upbringings themselves, I am going to share a few things that we do that anyone, even those without a college degree or loads of money can do to make sure their children have a leg up as well.
1. Read, Sing and Talk to Your Baby from Utero through Infancy.
Now it might seem silly, but there are lots of studies that show that after a baby develops his ears and can start hearing while in your belly, she is prime and ready to start learning! This means that as you go about your day, do activities at home, it is a great idea to talk to yourself. Your baby will hear it and learn the sound of your voice which will soothe him when he is born. There is a popular video out there showing a baby turning her head towards the sound of her mom’s voice compared to a stranger. That familiarity is important.
And because there are different phonetic undulations in speech, you should also read to yourself and sing, even if you cannot carry a tune. All of these activities will work to develop your baby’ senses and intelligence before he is even born! You don’t need to be wealthy to do this!
When baby is born, talk to her as you undress her in preparation for a bath, while giving her a sponge bath, when changing a diaper. Read him a board book while he is breastfeeding and sing a lullaby while rocking her to sleep after a feeding.
As soon as she is old enough, visit the local library or book store’s baby story time. These are usually free! No cost to stimulate a baby and get him used to the sound of books from different voices.
Every single one of these things will make sure when the time comes for your child to learn speech, words, to read, and write, she will have a higher likelihood of picking up concepts and skills quickly!
2. Buy Developmental Toys and Play Games With Your Baby
There are toys for visual stimulation, toys to entertain, and toys to soothe. Look for the toys that are created for development. A lot of them will indicate such on the boxes. These are not necessarily expensive either. For example, Manhattan Toy company’s Winkel Rattle and Sensory Teether Toy helps a baby develop senses while teething and it retails for just $9.99, a price many an afford.
Personally, I used to play the Baby Einstein DVDs and CDs because, despite a few attempts over the years to discredit the benefit of classical music for a child’s development, I still think they are essential. I made sure my siblings who started their families after I did got them for their kids!
I invested in an award-winning toy called The Babbler that isn’t even made anymore by an innovative toy manufacturer called Neurosmith. It babbled in English, Japanese, French, and Spanish to stimulate the synapses and hard wire the language center of baby’s brain at infancy so when she grows up and starts taking foreign languages, she will already be more attuned to the foreign phonemes. You might can find one being sold on one of those auction sites!
But, really, you don’t have to pay a dime! There are lots of ways to play with your baby to help develop her senses that are absolutely FREE! Pathways lists some.
3. Invest in Online Educational Games and Subscriptions
Because a lot of kids are into video games, what better way to infuse this love with education that through online educational gaming. There are lots of them online and many are FREE or low lost!
When my middle and youngest were between ages 2-4, I invested in the My Baby Can Read system and I swore it taught them both how to recognize letters, words and sentences at a super young age. We would flip through the cards periodically during the week and that was enough for them to connect the dots. I really do think it helped later.
When they both were about to go into pre-school, I learned about one online tool called ABC Mouse, which a lot of developmental centers, early education centers, Head Start programs, pre schools and Kindergarten teachers use to supplement their classroom instruction. It was about $5 per month, which is less than the cost of a latte at Starbucks. I think going through it helped my kids stay slightly ahead. It’s a cheaper alternative to paying for a tutor when they fall behind.
Finally, for the math part, my husband got an IXL Math subscription which I think cost something like $10 a month and again, a minor investment that even those of modest means may be able to afford.
If you think about, the better they do in school, the better their chances of getting a scholarship or admitted into some academic program later in life. It’s all about what you value and you really really do NOT need to be rich or have a bunch of degrees to give your child a head start. All you need is the commitment to make it a priority!
I published a Vlog sharing these same sentiments in this post that I’ll upload here soon!
There you have it!
I hope I didn’t come across as elitist or snobby in this post as that was not my intention. I have had battles with a lot of friends on line who tell me that a lot of people don’t do the things my friends and I do because they simply are unaware. If that is true, then that is a shame and this post is my attempt to make more aware. Sharing is Caring. Each One, Teach One. It Takes a Village to Raise a Child… and all the rest of the cliches! LOL!