These days, the concept of school is being introduced to kids as young as one year old—and it's not unusual for grandparents to object because they think it's too early for babies to attend classes.

Host and actress Toni Gonzaga went through the same scenario with her mommy Pinty and mother-in-law Marissa Soriano.

"In this day and age kasi, I know, ang mommy at daddy ko and the mom of Paul can attest to that. Nung panahon nila, wala naman daw ganun. They grew up na wala namang tutor, wala namang class pero naging director naman si Paul, nakapag-host ako. So sabi nila, ‘Bakit wala naman kayong mga ganyan pero you grew up okay naman.’"

All the same, she and husband Paul Soriano decided to give Seve, who's turning one year and seven months this April, a tutor, and let him attend classes on weekends. "Just fun games," the Kapamilya mom said at her family's launch as endorsers of Red Ribbon. 

Paul continued, "She [tutor] comes twice a week, and helps him out with color, shapes, numbers..."

The classes, according to the first-time mom, will help improve Seve's motor skills.

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When asked to describe the daily routine of Seve, the Pilipinas Got Talent host replied, "He’s not the usual kid na maagang natutulog. He sleeps at 11 p.m. We tried our best to make him sleep at 8 p.m., it didn’t work. He wakes up at around 10 [a.m.], and then, he takes his brunch...

"Tutor, Tuesdays, Wednesdays. On weekends, class niya."

But according to Paul, they also make sure to spend quality time together. "...The times I get home early, I take him out, we go for a walk around the village, we go swimming."

The idea of having a tutor appeals to parents who are both working. As Toni remarked, "You don’t really have that much time anymore to focus and sit down, so there’s someone [who does the job]."

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They got the idea of hiring a tutor from Drs. Vicki Belo and Hayden Kho Jr., whose daughter Scarlet is "very good friends" with Seve.

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Aside from tutoring, there are different ways to stimulate a child's senses and aid in his development. A good example is by singing, reading books out loud and talking to them (around 30,000 words/day, to be exact) to help in speech development, says Dr. Rhia De Guzman, FERN medical consultant, during FERN Kiddimin's media roundtable discussion on children's growth and development.

"When I advice parents, I say there's no definite good age to start putting them in school," says Dr. De Guzman. She says it depends on whether or not a toddler is getting enough stimulation at home. If there's a parent or a guardian who is always free to interact with a toddler, then it's okay to hold off formal classes for a while.

"But on the average, four is a good time to put them in school because their behavior, and their skills, are already very ideal for putting them in a structured setup, like the classroom." 

Make sure also that you let them play (and not with smartphones or tablets). Dr. De Guzman adds that toddlers from one to three years old need at least sixty minutes and up to several hours of unstructured play like riding bikes, running around, and familiarizing themselves with different shapes and objects. Remember, aside from the quantity of time spent with your toddler, quality is just as important.

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This story originally appeared on Pep.ph. With additional reporting by Ysabel Y. Yuzon

* Minor edits have been made by the Femalenetwork.com editors.

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