According to Shonkoff & Meisels, (2000), to promote healthy emotional, social, and behavioral development, a family needs rich and stimulating early childhood environment. Families should be active participants in issues relating to the early childhood environment. Their contributions pertain to selecting, modifying, or maintaining different features of the environment. Various aspects of the environment can be selected by these families and modified. Essa (2010) believes that the physical environment affects both the children and the adults. The importance of indoor environment should be considered by families. They should focus on how to use the indoor environment to help in the development of young children.
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According to Prior & Gerard (2007), parents and children are to work together at home. Parents and children can get along very well and can assist their children by guiding and spending time with them. Children can assist their parents in the house by doing chores which make them active and have a better understanding of life. Families also often have a strong commitment to their children’s program and are willing to spend a few weekend hours helping to paint, clean, varnish, or construct. Such activities are healthier as when compared with just watching television. According to Vandersen (2008) too much television deprives the young children of the opportunity to participate more actively in relationship building, physically healthy and learning activities. It also exposes them to models of violence that they are ill-equipped to understand.
Given the existing situation of many families in which both parents are employed, the nature of children’s time at home, both quantitative and qualitative, is highly significant (Vanderven, 2008). According to Vandersen (2008) spending quality time with the children at home is connected to less stress experienced by young children. Where stress is present, Vandersen (2008) asserts that the incidence of behavior problems such as defiance and aggression increases.
The conditions in the house are very crucial. This includes factors such as socio-economic status of the family, and caregiver’s emotional availability and support. The caregiver’s emotional availability is quite significant as it affects a child’s attachment formation and the ability to form relationships. The young children need the opportunity as they enter their preschool years to develop relationships with non-parental adults. This is vital especially where there is a problematic parent-child relationship.
According to Essa, (2010), parents should select equipment that is developmental and emphasize on the appropriate early childhood programs; they should consider criteria for selecting the needed materials for use in early childhood programs. Families should also know the age and ability of the children, so that they can establish an environment that is appropriate for them; they may need to get a better environment due to children with disabilities. With such children, parents should involve them in the programs known as early childhood support services. These provide intensive services and outreach to developmentally-delayed young children that have high risk for the developmental of behavioral and emotional issues (Shonkoff & Meisels, 2000).
According to Essa (2010), families should also consider the outdoor environment, and also innovations in natural environments. They should also establish how to maximize the children’s potentials. Family provides children with the necessary care and support to ensure their long-term emotional stability and positive aspirations. It is, therefore, very important because, without such support from family, the child’s aspirations are reduced, and through cumulative effect, their overall welfare may suffer. According to Hayes (2008), a well supported, high-quality early childhood care and education system comprise a support mechanism that can impact on children through its effect on parents and the home environment.
Family plays a significant role in the health and well-being of the children. The family is the child’s primary source of support and strength. The family plays a very crucial role in early childhood by ensuring that the children grow in a friendly and healthy environment. It is important that they ensure that the environment of the children ids kept clean at all times. Safety should be the number one priority. Dangerous materials that may pose any danger to the children should be kept out of reach. Ensuring the health of the child is also a crucial role that the family plays. It is important that the family provides a friendly, conducive and happy environment for the child to grow in.
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The knowledge that a family has about a child’s health or illness is vital. Vigilant parents are committed to their child’s care. Family-centered care involves family and caregivers working in a collaborative partnership to determine goals and plans for healthcare. This works well in all areas of health care.
Family healthcare strengthens parents’ and caregivers’ confidence in their own skills and also prepares children and adults from assuming responsibility for their healthcare needs. To meet growth and development milestones, children need to follow basic guidelines for a healthy diet, such as eating a variety of foods; maintaining ideal weight; avoiding extreme levels of cholesterol and saturated fat; eating foods with adequate starch and fiber; and avoiding too much sugar. It is imperative that family members ensure that the children adhere to these guidelines.
Another crucial role that the parents play is that of early childhood education. Parents are expected to show value and interest in the early childhood education. By doing this, parents can hire a tutor who can best help their children with making learning materials or contributing recyclables that children can use for creative activities. This will show interest not only from the parents but also from the children. According to Shonkoff & Meisels (2000), parents should involve their children in ‘’school of the mother” which is the most appropriate vehicle for education in the first six years of life; children learn spontaneously and apply what they have learned at home.
Prior & Gerard (2007) assert that, in early childhood education, it is important to have a positive communication between the parents and tutors, and also between parents and children. Parents and tutors should be having meetings occasionally. By doing this, teachers will be able to provide parents with information on their children’s performance. In this case, parents will also share information with the tutors on how their children are proving better performance at home. Communication between parents and children prove to be helpful because this is where a parent understands how well a child is learning, and how much he/she is improving on the understanding of things. According to Prior & Gerard (2007), parents are required to be truly involved in teaching, learning and planning cycle. Parents can help out in teaching their children, making their children understand right from wrong, good from bad, negative and positive. They should also teach their children on how to plan their cycle and how to manage themselves while away from teachers and parents.
Essa, E, L. (2010). Introduction to early childhood education: what’s new in early childhood? Cengage learning
Hayes, N. (2008). The role of early childhood care and education: an anti-poverty perspective: paper commissioned by combat poverty agency. Combat Poverty Agency
Prior, J. O. & Gerard, M. R. (2007) Family involvement in early childhood education: Research into practice. Cengage learning
Shonknoff, J. P. & Meisels, S. J. (2000). Handbook of early childhood intervention. Cambridge University Press
Vanderven, K. (2008). Promoting positive development in early childhood: building blocks for a successful start. Springer