5 Skills Your Child Can Learn at a Young Age

Nov 21, 2020 by

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In today’s hurry-worry world, it’s understandable that parents contemplate getting help for their young children to gain an edge for the lifetime ahead. Pre-school programs are blossoming, and children are being enrolled in a variety of early education programs in everything from life skills to mathematics to even technical subjects like kids coding on computers.

Significant attention to early childhood learning, particularly by online articles and news media reports, indicates parents’ interest in getting their children a jump-start on life. Some learning-focused organizations tout the benefits of skills instruction as early as a first birthday.

Ever wonder what type of instruction might be best for your child? You may be surprised at the skills a child can obtain even at a very young age. Here are five:

Swimming: Start Them Early, Maybe Save a Life

In May 2019 the Washington Post published an article under the headline, “New guidelines say kids should start swim lessons around age 1.” For parents who have, or have experienced, a 1-year-old this may seem preposterous. At that age, most children are just learning to walk.

Yet, because drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths for American kids age 1 to 4, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents to start swimming lessons for their little ones at or about that first birthday. The AAP calls such instruction “water safety skills.”

Other organizations, as outlined in the Post article, offer swim instruction to kids as young as four or six months old.

Never Too Young to Start Learning Second Language

Available reports and studies indicate other skills instruction for very young children. Among the most mentioned:

  • Second Language. More and more, job listings require or offer special consideration if an applicant can speak a second language, especially Spanish. The trend does not appear to be fading. Many learning experts say it’s best to start instruction at a very young age, perhaps as early as age 4.
  • Musical Instrument. Learning to play a guitar or the piano not only adds potential for a career – it also can benefit a child long-term with associated skills like math, timing, patience and dedication.
  • Dance. Ever see one of those online videos where a toddler is just grooving to a tune heard through stereo speakers? It seems dancing comes naturally to many kids; so imagine how well they could shake it up with some guidance.
  • Counting and Comparing. Some learning experts say while it’s good for children to memorize numbers, it’s more important that they learn to determine more and less. You can start your child early on how to compare numbers – and who knows, such instruction could develop his or her interest in solid career paths like computer coding or programming.

Early Childhood Skills Rarely God-Given

Just because young children can learn new skills does not mean it will happen, or come easy. It can take a considerable amount of time, energy and patience to absorb new skills. Add to that a little hereditary luck.

Remember Drew Berrymore in the sci-fi movie “E.T.”? She was exceptional in the film, at age 7 – indicating an acting education well before that. Which is true: Berrymore came from a family of actors, and her mother started taking her to auditions when Drew was just an infant.

She first appeared in a dog food commercial before her first birthday, and it took “E.T.” to establish herself as an actor, so it took six years of hard work while waiting for that big break.

Many of us have seen videos of very young children mastering the piano, or shredding on a guitar. Not all of these kids were natural prodigies. Most needed extensive instruction or training, and hours of practice.

Never Too Young to Learn New Things?

You likely have heard the phrase, “You’re never too old to learn new things.” Today it seems we’re in an era where kids can not be too young to absorb new (and often valuable) skills. New studies routinely surface exploring the best ages for kids to learn a range of skills, from physical acts like swimming to technical or career-oriented gained knowledge of mathematics or computer programming.

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1 Comment

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    Anna Clarke

    Wow, I didn’t realise how high the risk is of drowning for children so young, it really makes swimming a more essential skill at such a young age

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