Do kids learn more from parents or peers?

September 28, 2017

We all know and agree that kids are at their receptive best and learn quickly during their initial years. As they grow older, the capacity to learn new things slows down and hence, it is vital to be aware and focus on right learning for your child from an early age. However, kids do not learn just by attending certain classes. They intuitively learn from various surroundings that leave impressions on them.

For the longest time, it was believed that kids learn more from their parents than their peers. This was true in the past where kids would spend up to 5 years of their lives at home with parents or grandparents. They used to receive and learn information from their parents and hence, would be moulded by them consciously and subconsciously. Hence, when kids would grow up, one could easily associate their tendencies and attitudes with that of their parents.

However, in the last 10 years or so, parenting has undergone a radical change with working parents in cities away from their native places. In such a situation, most kids find their ways to day cares, full time nannies, etc. very early; in some cases as early as the age of 2. In this sort of arrangement, a child ends up learning more from his peers.

Kids are constantly exposed to peers and their activities in this social environment. They pick up the accent, speech patterns and attitudes of other kids faster than what they pick up at home. In the long run, while parents’ influences still matter, it is the out-of-home influences like friends and popular culture that create a greater influence on how kids grow up today.

Another great influencer today is the access to digital media. One can hardly find a toddler who doesn’t know how to operate his parents’ smartphone to get to his favourite video. That’s because kids are good intuitive learners. With equal exposure to media, kids in the same age group can communicate and relate to each other much quicker today. However, their exposure to media should be limited to the extent that they don’t alienate themselves from the peer group.

Given these insights, it is important that today’s parents expose their kids to the healthy learning environment at an early age. They should choose play schools or daycares that are in sync with the values that they wish to inculcate in their child. A healthy learning environment for kids with the right peers creates the right impact for life.

Reference:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/parents-peers-children/

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