Memory Verse: I will instruct you and show you the way to go; with my eye on you, I will give counsel. Psalm 32:8 (CSB)
Today’s world is full of commercials and advertisements promising to make your child smarter or to teach your child how to read at an earlier age. While this sounds wonderful to us, I urge parents to be cautious of falling into such traps. God has designed each one of us to learn and develop as we grow.
As babies, children cannot sit up alone, as they grow, they gain the strength and balance to hold up their heads and then to sit unassisted. When a baby is placed on a mat with toys around him, he will learn to focus on the toy, squirm to the toy, maneuver the toy into his hand, and then pull it in to put it in his mouth. Take a minute to think about the learning that took place, just by allowing a child to discover his world. We could continue this discussion with learning to walk. The point here, is the world is new and full of lessons for children to learn. A toddler learning to throw a toy, is learning about the weight of the toy, the velocity of the toss, the texture of the toy, the shape of the toy, and the distance it will travel, all through self-exploration. Repeated throws teach the child how to make a hypothesis and test their own theory. No, this is not reading, this is deeper thinking. This requires a child to use science, logic and math to learn. This is the process of learning God has given, as a gift, to all healthy children. He is the Creator and Designer of us, he knows us better than any computer software or scientist will ever know us.
Add a parent to this game of toss and children are learning communication, relating to facial expressions, and making human connections while building trust and security. Such simple actions as playing with our babies and children are teaching them more about the world than they will learn from videos and software. Children will learn how others respond to their needs, and how to respond to the needs of others. Children will gain more empathy if they live it by caring for others.
Computer games and digital devices cannot and will not ever replace learning from a parent or loving adult. As children get older, the temptation becomes even greater for children to be online. Be leary of buy “educational” programs for children. The best educational programs for children, especially young children, are real experiences. Reading, writing and arithmetic are important, but not more important than love, character, morals, values, and worship of God. You are your child’s first teacher, teach him/her to love God above everything else. As you do this on a daily basis, you will be teaching so much more than you could hope for. Most importantly, you will be teaching about the Savior, and our heavenly home.