Today, even though our expectation for our children’s success at school has changed, the practices we use at home have not progressed as much. Though we know the importance of a holistic education, as parents, we expect more out of the system and fall short with our end. This, however, is not because we do not care, because I am sure we do...a lot, in fact. The issue is that there are so many tools and resources out there, we get lost. So, how do we fulfill our duties up to par with what our children need?

Though the gadgets and the programs we choose to give to our children are important, their success if affected more by us physically being there for our kids and engaging with them than anything else. The National Household Education Survey (NHES)  collects data from a nationally representative sample of families with school-age children. The School Readiness Supplement collects data specifically about young children (age 3 and 4) and their families as the children approach school age. Overall, though we have gotten better at giving children more quality resources and developing their cognitive skills, the results show that our children have not improved in self-regulation. What is even more interesting is that the study also showed that as parents, we now spend less time with our children and the frequency of family activities has decreased. The times we used to spend with our children playing and reading books have been exchanged with apps and television as parents became busier. Couple these factors with how much our expectations of success from our children have increased, you can see the depth of the problem.

Interestingly, the answer is more simple than you think. Increased family activities and family engagement directly improve and support child development. Basically, all we need to do is spend more time with our children performing educational activities instead of relying on the apps and television to create that engagement. Now the question becomes, what do you do as parents to be more involved? Luckily, the technology that created this disengagement can also be used to help us become more engaged with our children. There are apps and text message platforms, like “Tembo Education”, that give developmental instructions on how to perform activities with our children. Find the ones that you like the most and utilize them to help you prepare your child for school in the right way.

Technology improves everyday and moves humanity forward, but we should not forget that the essence of learning comes from parent engagement and parental involvement, especially for children aged 0-6. So let’s not rely solely on technology, but instead, let’s use it to aid us with the way we interact with our children. You are your child’s first and most important teacher!