Dr Adaugo Onyedinma, a consultant paediatrician, has advised parents to always enroll their babies in school after they have attained at least two years of age.
Onyedinma is a staff member of Samaria Hospital in Ago-Lagos, with special interests in newborn health and infant nutrition.
She told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that enrolling children in school when they were not matured enough usually had more negative impacts than positive ones on such children.
She said: “The summer holidays are coming to a close and children are heading back to the classrooms, parents are also preparing to register their babies.
“I always advise parents to delay school enrollment to at least two years when the child must have developed to an extent.
“From age two, a child has developed some level of independence and confidence to move around unaided, he has been toilet-trained and has also developed some cognitive abilities to learn.”
The expert said that the brain of a child who started school early would not be allowed to develop at its own pace.
She said that this is because he would be subjected to rigorous learning activities that were beyond his capacity.
According to her, this may eventually affect his ability to cope with school work.
Onyedinma urged parents to develop a bond with their children until they were old enough to start school.
She said that the person a child spends his time with in those early and formative years of his life mattered most.
She advised parents who felt they would not be available to take care of their children, to get trusted adults to take care of them at home.
The medical expert also said a child would be at risk of contracting different diseases that spreads through contact at school.
She observed that very young children have low immunity such that they could not fight infections like older children and adults.
Onyedinma advised parents to immunise their children so as to protect them from catching or passing on infections when they join their friends at school.
She urged parents to ensure that the schools they intended to register their children had adequate facilities to care for young children and the sanitary conditions were satisfactory.
She, however, said that the only positive result of early school-start was that a child would be able to interact and relate with other people early enough.