Kids start learning from the moment they become sentient; however, when we mention the term education, what we’re really referring to is a concentrated effort by adults to teach them something. In the most formal sense, this could mean teaching them in an institution, but even instilling some parental lessons can be seen as education.
Here’s why it’s so important that you start educating your kids as early as possible.
Have you ever tried partaking in a sport or picked up a new hobby as an adult? If you have, you must have seen a difference between the performance of someone who learned this later in life and someone who picked it up in their childhood.
For those who start early, this is as natural as breathing. The same goes for a language or anything else. This is why, even if you move to a different country and speak the target language exclusively, you’ll never be bilingual or a native speaker. Even Joseph Konrad, one of the greatest artists ever to write in the English language, wasn’t a native English speaker (since he learned the language in his early 20s).
The thing is that if you start the kid out early on, you’re drastically raising a ceiling of their potential in that field. Sure, it’s never too late to learn, but it might just be too late to adopt.
This is true even in scenarios where you would the least expect it. For instance, if you start teaching kids about money early on, you’re fostering financial wellness in the next generation. These kids will always understand money better than their peers who started older.
Now, most experts in this field believe that kids are not too late to start adopting until they’re nine. Still, the sooner you start, the better, and this usually implies early childhood. Now, there are some skills that you’ll have to wait a bit longer to get started with; however, even the first steps are important.
Every organ develops with use, and the brain is no different in this regard. The sooner you give your kids a chance to exercise their cognitive abilities, the more they’ll develop them. It’s as simple as that.
Early education, regardless of whether it’s learning with your parents or K-12 education, stimulates cognitive development. Sure, they might not pick up too many practical skills in this stage, but if you’re persistent and dedicated enough, you can help them enhance their learning capacity and pick up a few problem-solving skills.
It’s never too early to teach them to ask questions when they have them.
You see, young children aren’t plagued by biases and pre-existing concepts in the world. In other words, their minds are open to developing natural connections. By having them study early on in life, you’ll boost the formation of neural connections in their brain and help enhance their cognitive skills.
Most of the time, it’s not even memory that we’re talking about but pattern recognition. When they see enough examples of the same pattern, people will react instinctively. You can see this in chess. For instance, GM Anish Giri complained about how he’s not that good at finding checkmates since, as a kid, he solved thousands of puzzles instead of hundreds of thousands (like some other super GMs).
Emotional development is incredibly important in a child’s life, and you need to understand one thing. When we talk about confidence, the majority of people immediately jump to physical attributes like physical appearance, height, or the depth of one’s voice.
In reality, one’s cognitive abilities and their freedom to express themselves are equally as important. Having one’s ideas shut down, criticizing the pace at which they’re learning, and more are just some of the things that people often underestimate.
Another thing you need to keep in mind is the importance of empathy toward others. The way they respond when their fellow students get low scores on tests will show a lot of their character. Showing pride in your good work is one thing but rubbing it into other people’s faces is something else entirely.
As for socialization, peer interactions are one of the key components of education. This type of semi-professional interaction will determine one’s future collaborations and success. When you come to think about it, there’s little difference in the way you interact with your classmates when compared to the way you deal with your coworkers.
As a parent, you’re aware of the fact that once your kids start actively learning, this is when they’ll experience their first major frustrations in life. Now, to some, this may sound like a negative stimulus, but the truth is that there’s nothing more important in life than learning how to handle difficult tasks and frustrations. The earlier you achieve this, the better.
Sure, the kid’s temperament can be seen as something that they’re born with, but there’s another aspect to it, as well. Namely, it often comes down to your own responses. If you’re too critical, they’ll become timid, even anxious, and too cautious when making mistakes. On the other hand, if you’re too chill about it, they’ll get the impression that it doesn’t really matter.
So, how do you act? Well, there was a study with two groups of kids; one group was praised for the results and the other for the effort. Kids from the latter group showed better results the next time around.
Keep in mind that some of the coping mechanisms are supposed to be developed this early. Learning how to deal with challenges in education will later translate to the way they deal with challenges in the workplace and in life in general.
The key thing to understand is that this is one of the most important things in your child’s life and one of the fields where you need to invest as much attention as humanly possible. Their education can determine their future life and even impact the type of people they’ll grow into. This is something that you can’t leave up to chance.