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How can I give a good upbringing to my child?

Q: I have a few questions to help me with bringing up my 13 months old son. We are living in Australia and its very obvious that children can't have the same environment abroad as they used to have in India, like family, neighborhood, social exposure and opportunity to interact in the same culture, which help their personality to develop. We are quite concerned about giving our child family environment here so his grandparents are staying with us but I feel that's not enough. We are thinking of returning home to give our son the same values, which we have been brought up with. I would like to know how important is it for a child to have immediate family around and up to what age? I have taken a career break to be with my child and would like to utilize all my time to give him the best. But I am not pushing him to learn things but waiting for him to get interested in something. Is it wise? We are not fond of the modern theory of bringing up children, which promotes formal training (childcare center or baby daycare) for better and effective growth of the child. Many researchers support the theory of sending babies to daycare. Whether abroad or in India, a child always needs parents and family around. But for our child's welfare we don't want to ignore the other aspect of this theory if it's worth considering. What will you suggest? Giving him formal training at daycare or informal training at home at the age of 13 month? Your advice will be much appreciated.

A:There is no single modern theory about bringing up children. Formal education in the creche is certainly not very modern. Planning suitable play and play activities, hugging the child close once in a way and giving the child the assurance of the unquestioning love of his parents, organizing his diet with proper nutrition and different tastes, ensuring that his sleep is regular, letting him interact with others in your presence and talking to him -- these are simple procedures for a child’s development. Their is no evidence that any one country is better than another, though you are right in assuming that there will be more social interactions if he is in India. There are excellent childcare centres, where the children learn to play with others and make friends. There are other day care centres that may not be so satisfactory. It is good that you have taken a break in your career to look after the child. As we know, a lot of the brain development takes place in the first five years. Read stories to the child and play music for him to move to or sing with. There are several ways by which the child’s experiences can be enriched. In my view, it is not so important where one lives, but what is the kind of emotional interaction the child has. If you can provide a happy, stimulating, safe and pleasant home for the child, one would not recommend institutional care for the child. But if you are away at work, being in the hands of professional caregivers would be better than a maid at home to look after the child. You should weigh the pros and cons and decide in consultation with the child’s father and grandparents.

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