Raising a smart child in a fast-paced era

Admit it, this is an era when everything changes in a split second. Or make that, with a click of the mouse (or a tap on a tablet, if that’s your case).

It is quite a challenge raising our children today. Because of social media, parents are becoming highly competitive. Each milestone is documented online quickly for all the world to see, and not anymore through keepsakes or journals or scrapbooks.

How do we keep up?

1. Heed advise from your parents. They’ve gone through that rough road of child rearing so they know better. They might always compare from the past generation, but it’s inevitable. Some advise might not be applicable in the modern era, but listen to them anyway.

2. Go back to basics. Lampin is fine. Freshly cooked food is perfectly fine. Breastfeeding is best. Classic, chic, and convenient, they all are.

3. Be a “present” parent. And this should be on top of everything else. Our young children need us, naturally. They are too young to understand how the world works, and it is our responsibility to raise not only smart but good human beings.

If we could be with her all day everyday, we would.
If we could be with her all day everyday, we would.

Of course, we want our children to learn a lot of things. It is said that children learn so many things early on as neurons quickly form everyday. Our child is turning four next month, and so far, here’s a rundown of some of her milestones:

Reading and Language: Reads English like a second grader and pretty much understands them as well, reads and recites Filipino poems and rhymes, speaks fluently both in English and Filipino (though sometimes she mixes them when she’s unfamiliar with translated words).

Writing: colors inside lines, doodles spirals and straight lines, can trace and write happy faces. Still working on it, I must admit, and she’s leaning to become a leftie (not my husband nor I are left-handed!).

Counting: counts and can read up to 100 with pauses, adds up to five, counts from ten to zero.

Music: sings in perfect rhythm and tune, knows how to sing arpeggiated triads, easily memorizes anything through singing and dancing.

Values: says “po” and “opo,” does “mano po,” which is a very good Filipino tradition that we must keep, shows thoughfulness, shares and helps around when she’s in a good mood.

How does our family do it?

1. By feeding our child well. We breastfed her since birth and there’s no sign of weaning at age four. We gave her only freshly prepared foods when she’s starting solids, and make sure she eats a balanced diet especially that she’s on the lean side.

2. By being her first teachers. My husband and I made sure we’ll be the ones who will teach our daughter her ABCs, so we read books to her, sang and danced with her, even if it meant coming home right after work and spending our evenings with her at the center of our attention. All of those worked well.

3. By always connecting with family outside of our home. Since we’re only three in our condo (we don’t have stay in help), we make sure she knows our family and friends, too. Aside from spending time with them, we make sure to call them constantly, do video call, post photos and videos so they will be updated with our child’s growth.

4. By introducing her to new things everyday. We use technology to our advantage, definitely. iPad apps and online resources are a great aid for learning, just make sure you set your limits when you use them. Anything excessive is bad.

Watching a Bible Story.
Watching a Bible Story.

5. By being parents by example. This is the hardest by the simplest thing to raise a smart and good child. What we want them to do, we must first be able to do ourselves. I am constantly reminded by my child to be a model parent just by looking at her. And yes, I struggle to be one everyday.

Bottomline is, we build first our connection with ourselves, then with our partners in raising our children (our spouses and other family members) in order to connect better with our child. Then, we can truly raise our child slowly but surely in the midst of an ever-changing society. As their parents, we must strengthen our faith in ourselves so that we can be the best parents to our children.

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