The Benefits of Learning Early

by Sesame Lane Admin on 26/09/2016 4:47:17 AM
Is it really a case of ‘the sooner the better’ when it comes to teaching your child a new skill? You’ve seen the videos on YouTube of musical prodigies from China, playing immaculate pieces of classical music on guitars or the piano. But are the benefits really worth it?
 
Turns out, yes.
 
As we’ve previously shown there is study, upon study, upon study, proving that early education is hugely beneficial to child development. There are so many benefits to your child being taught an assortment of skills from an early age, whether it’s:
 
  • Sports classes
  • Music
  • Languages
  • Social skills
  • Academic skills
 
Children are sponges and love learning, so taking advantage of their passion for it from an early age will lead them on to a life-long love of learning, and this article will show you why (and how).


Learning a Second Language

The best way for a child to learn a second language is by exposing them to it naturally. So if you have a family member who speaks another language fluently, great! Make sure your children spend plenty of time with these people and get them to speak in their native tongue, regularly.
 
It may seem like hard work to you but children are learning one language already, it’s not that hard for them to pick up another at the same time. Children can learn native like fluency from birth in the same way they learn to walk. It’s a window of opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.
 
Children learn differently. Whereas we, as adults, already have a grammatical structure in place and find it difficult to break these habits, children learn from the sounds, structures and intonation patterns of natural speech.
 
But the ability to reproduce the sounds of natural language can be lost from as early as 8 years old. This means teaching your child another language as early as possible means it will be easier for them to replicate the sounds of native speech and pick up on all the little nuances of both languages.
 
In fact, learning a second language can actually help your child develop their English language. Learning another language enhances their verbal development as well as helping them to:
 
  • Solve problems quicker, and better
  • Have enhanced spatial relations
  • Explore heightened levels of creativity
  • Enjoy an enhanced memory
  • Thrive on their ability to multi-task
 
The list goes on and on, and all these skills will help them flourish throughout their adult lives. Learning a second language gives them the ability to use more of their brainpower than those who only know one.

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Learning to Play an Instrument

It may feel like signing your child up to class after class is a bit much, but the benefits of learning to play an instrument are unparalleled. Not only does it give your child a creative outlet, helping to reduce stress, they are increasing their cognitive development and building lifelong skills.
 
Interestingly, maths and music are linked. There are a lot of calculations to be made when learning to play a musical instrument, such as keeping to a beat, using rhythm and learning scales. Reading music helps teach children how to use fractions, how to divide and recognise patterns.
 
There are also memory benefits to learning music. As they begin to learn a song children use their short-term memory, but eventually this is converted to long-term memory. The more this transition is used the stronger it stays.
 
The social benefits to playing an instrument are undeniable, particularly if they play in an orchestra or band. In this setting they learn the importance of working in harmony and paying attention to the others in their team. If one person is playing out of sync with everyone else, the music does not work and this is an important skill.
 
Physically playing an instrument also improves their motor skills and coordination development. Playing something like the drums uses both feet and hands at the same time in different patterns, and most instruments require you to be using your hands together, but at different times. It is an incredibly difficult skill to master and one that will benefit them hugely.
 
Finally, it helps your child learn discipline and patience, as they will have to invest a huge amount of time and effort into learning to play a musical instrument well. What’s not to love about that?
 

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Learning to Play a Sport

There are obvious physical benefits to your child playing a sport. The increased physical activity is great for their health in maintaining a healthy weight, boosting their immune systems and keeping their crazy energy levels in check. But what are the long-term mental benefits to playing sport?
 
From improved academic achievement to higher self-esteem and a reduction in behavioural problems, sport plays an integral role in creating a well-rounded and intelligent human being.
 
Many of the studies done on the benefits of sport on young children focus on the five ‘C’s:
 
  • Confidence
  • Character
  • Competence
  • Connections
  • Caring
 
All five of these points are considered critical to positive youth development, as well as benefits like:
 
  • Higher grades and attainment
  • Better connections with school such as increased support from staff
  • Better relationships with their friends
  • Their friends tend to be similarly academically orientated
  • Better and more frequent interaction with parents
  • Less likely to take part in ‘risky’ behaviour
  • More likely to engage in volunteer work
 
In playing sport they are taught personal independence and responsibility while learning to appreciate each member of their team.
 
Sport gives children a huge sense of confidence in their own ability, as well as respect for their own safety and the safety of others. For both girls and boys the mental benefits of playing sport are significant as taking part in this kind of regular exercise reduces anxiety and other mental health issues.
 
Sport will keep your child happy. Children who take part in sport are more likely to grow into psychologically resilient adults. This means they are able to deal with stress and will recover from difficult situations better than those who don’t play sport.
 
Having your child take part in a sports club will become particularly important as they grow into the teenage years, when they need all the confidence and self-esteem they can get, but starting them early will give them a head start on their own confidence and well-being.
 

It’s Never Too Soon

Children learn from the day they’re born. They thrive on it and that’s why it is more important than ever to start teaching them these skills from an early age. None of us wants our child to fall behind when they start school. Encouraging them to take part in learning a musical instrument, attempting a new language or playing sport is setting them up for a life-time of happiness, resilience and confidence.
 
There are no guarantees your child won’t struggle with anxiety or stress, but teaching them skills like music, a second language or a sport is preparing them to deal with stress, to be mentally resilient and to solve problems on their own.
 
All of these skills will be setting your child up for success, giving them better relationships with their peers, their schools and even you, their parents.