4 Debunked Childhood Development Myths

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Adorable laughing toddler, cute little girl with curly hair wearing a pink summer dress, playing with colorful blocks and toys sitting on a floor in a sunny bedroom with a big window

Just as there are trends in music and fashion, there are “trends” in what people believe are the best methods of raising a child. Perspectives on things like educational learning materials, the newest baby carrier, or the best type of early childhood education training are all continually evolving as we deepen our understanding of development milestones and intellectual growth. Test your knowledge! Read on to learn more about commonly believed myths of childhood development.

“Only Child” Stereotypes

Having multiple children used to be a necessity to make ends meet. Children would help their parents on the farm or at the family business, and care for them in old age. In North America today, most people live in cities, and there are government mandates in place for assisting the elderly. As a result, more people are having fewer children, and in many cases, just one. This shift has encouraged quite a few myths to grow around the characteristics of “only” children versus young people who grow up with siblings.

One popular belief is that only children are spoiled, selfish, lonely and overly dependent on their care givers. However, studies have shown that while only children may receive a bit more attention and nurturing, this does not mean they are self-centered or lack coping skills. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Without the built-in support system of siblings, an only child is much more likely to be welcoming and generous in order to make friends at school.

As for the myth that only children are spoiled? It’s entirely dependent on the household. Many parents can only afford to have one child, and thus also cannot afford to buy their children hundreds of toys, new clothing, and other luxuries.

Perfectly Healthy Premature Babies

It is a common myth that if a premature baby is born seemingly healthy, there is no need to take the same precautions as if it weren’t. A premature baby has the disadvantage of not having fully developed in the mother’s womb. That means special care must be taken to ensure the baby is breathing properly, and caregivers must be extra cautious about infections (which premature infants are especially susceptible to). Parents and preschool workers should take care to wash their hands frequently, as well as wash bedding and toys. Students who have taken nursing courses to become a newborn specialist are great people to ask for advice on premature baby care.

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All Kids Grow out of Early Language Problems

Teachers, preschool workers and professionals with an education assistant diploma must always be on the lookout for developmental issues in the children they work with. Sometimes, early problems with reading are overlooked because it is assumed that the child will outgrow them over time. Ignoring a potential developmental issue can truly harm a child in the long run, as these challenges only multiply and compound as schooling progresses. Early language or numeracy problems must be swiftly and accurately identified, and intervention strategies should be put in place to support improvement.

Educational Toys and Classical Music Will Make a Child Smarter

The educational toy market is booming today, with producers making all sorts of promises about how their particular product will stimulate intellectual growth. Many of these educational toys and tools are media-based, such as Baby Einstein videos – but do these educational products actually make a difference in a child’s intelligence?

While listening to Mozart and Bach is certainly not harmful to your child, it will do little to mold them into geniuses. In fact, many experts believe that the most effective method of building a child’s brain is by using traditional toys like building blocks. Often, media-based education tools are too stimulating for a child, and they retain very little of what they watch. Education experts believe kids can learn much more from using their hands, experiencing, and doing – rather than sitting in front of the television or tablet.

Do you know of other child development myths that have been proven false? Share your point of view in the comments.

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