During early childhood, children are learning all the time and, rather than being hard work, it’s fun and enjoyable. One of the topics that it helps to learn about is other people. Here are some ways in which you can help your child broaden their knowledge about other people and kick-start their educational knowledge and experience.
As children get older, they may tend to be less inclined to learn, assuming it will be hard work. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so good that young children have no barriers to learning. As they grow, develop and become more independent, young children are typically keen to know all they can about everything, and try everything they can.
Knowledge and understanding about other people doesn’t come instantly, but is something that develops over time. For example, a very young child has little empathy for other people and tends to focus purely on their own needs, feelings and requirements, but as they grow and develop more, they come to realise that other people have feelings too.
Learning About Other People Through Social Interaction
Social interaction with other children, whether the same age or slightly older or younger, is a great way for children to learn about other people.
There are lots of playgroups, parent and toddler groups and other groups and clubs that children and parents can go along to. It’s a nice way for mums and dads to meet other parents, and also for children to get the chance to interact with other kids. Simply being around other children and adults gives children an insight into the different ways in which people interact and their behaviour in social situations.
Playing with other children is hugely beneficial too and in a setting such as a playgroup, there are lots of opportunities for children to pitch in and play with others. Even at play centres, where parents supervise, children get the chance to mix and play with other children, learning the basics of successful (or not, at first) social interaction.
Learning About Others Through DVDs and Books
Watching children’s DVDs or reading books are also really good ways for children to learn about other people.
If you choose DVDs and books carefully, you can find stories that focus on people – children respond will to stories about other children, or characters that they can empathise with. Watching the DVD or reading the story together, then discussing the moral of the tale and what they’ve learnt from it is a good way of enhancing their knowledge.
For example, children may assume that everyone is the same, everyone’s home life is the same and everyone looks the same, but stories can help them realise that people and their experiences do differ, but that doesn’t make them any better or less worthy than others.
A good basic understanding and appreciation of other people is a great learning base for children to have. It’s particularly helpful for them when the time comes for them to go to school, as it enhances their ability to get on with other children in their class and could help them settle in better. Plus, it’s a useful start to their early childhood education and serves as a useful foundation for future learning.