Today is International Day of Families. A UN observance that does as its name suggests, with particular attention to the role of families in promoting early childhood education…
Of course, being a UN day the main focus of this day is developing countries and sustainable development goals, but I think it’s well worth thinking about these themes closer to home as well as abroad.
My parents were both teachers, so I was lucky to have a childhood that was educationally stimulating.
Even though I’m sure there were times my sister and I rolled our eyes at my mum’s little weekend projects or my dad’s insistence on telling us how to say random things in other languages, we always enjoyed them.
I’m thankful that we were encouraged as much as we were. We got a lot out of an educationally rich upbringing and it set us up for life.
Cut to 30 odd years later and it’s important to me to try and replicate the start I had for my three children.
Like any parent though, I often worry about whether I’m doing a good enough job.
For example, I find myself fretting about whether we let the kids use screens too much. Sure, they’re educational but I still tend to think of them more as a form of entertainment.
I also feel guilty that we haven’t encouraged them to persevere with extra-curricular activities. My sons have tried a couple of things, but didn’t enjoy them and we have yet to find them something else.
I also know for a fact that we ought to take them on days out more regularly.
Something I’m proud of though is the fact that reading is something that we have aced.
My sons have grown up with books as a key part of their routine and have responded brilliantly. They’re both doing really well with reading and writing at school and still look forward to going to the library.
Similarly, we’ve been reading bedtime stories to my 17-month-old daughter since she was very little and she is now showing signs of loving books too.
Even though it means having to read Peppa Pig books to her – I’m not a fan of said character! – I’m always delighted when she toddles over to me and thrusts a book into my hand.
While there is undoubtedly room for improvement in other respects, I don’t feel we’re doing badly at all.
I am, however, taking today as the friendly reminder that I needed to improve in other areas. More family days out and after-school clubs await!