The Vital Role of Parents
Parents keep children safe and healthy – it’s in our genes to look out for our children’s well-being. We react instinctively when a child is in harm’s way.
The more we learn about how children develop, the more we know about the crucial role of parents in those moments when a child isn’t in danger. Parents play a vital role in their children’s social and emotional development by providing quality engagement that stimulates brain growth and increases their learning potential. Those every day interactions are the keys to a child’s long-term potential.
Research has shown that meaningful family engagement—the amount of time parents spend talking with their children, reading them a book, cuddling them or asking about their day—has a direct impact on learning and motivation. Very young children thrive when their parents spend time talking, reading, and singing to them every day and when their parents remain calm during emotional outbursts or stressful situations. Older children benefit from parents who ask about their friends, establish a homework routine, and carve out quiet study time.
All children benefit when parents and caregivers establish routines in their home, whether around family meal times, bedtimes or bath times. Routines that begin early, in particular, can pave the way for habits that last into adulthood. A routine as simple as reading to a child before bed contributes to her healthy brain development and sets her up to become a successful, lifelong reader.
No matter the activity, parents play a critical role in their children’s growth and education from birth on, and help establish the emotional and cognitive foundation that their children’s lives will be built upon.
- How parents and caregivers can enhance their children’s emotional vocabulary, in this factsheet by Vanderbilt University.
- A feature blog from Too Small to Fail staff, about how their favorite children’s books (read to them by their parents!) impacted their lives.
In The News:
“Reading for Fun Improves Children’s Brains, Study Confirms,” The Guardian. September 16, 2013.