Kindergarten SreeningParent-Child ActivitiesYour role is very important!
As a parent (or caregiver), YOU are your child’s first and most important teacher. You can support your child by showing how learning can be fun. By following your child’s interests at a natural pace, you can promote a full and happy childhood and success in school.
Watch and Learn
Every child has different interests, skills, and attention span. Try to observe your child’s behaviors, watching for new tasks, or interests that may be good times to sit down with your child. Pay attention to what your child chooses to do most often, and find ways to work new tasks into something he or she already does well. When you follow your child’s pace, it will be easier to know when it’s time for a new task, or when it’s time for a break.
Make Time to be Together
Your days are busy, but there are ways to show your child that he or she is important to you. It’s a good idea to do things, such as mealtime or bedtime, at the same time every day so your child knows what to expect. Your child will enjoy even a short time when you can give your full attention. If you are asked to play when you are too busy, give another time to your child and an option of other things to do for the time being. Be sure to keep your promise to play later.
Lead by Showing
Children like to do what they see older children or adults doing. Make learning activities part of the culture of your home. Read for your own pleasure, and keep books, magazines, or newspapers in your home to show your child that reading is important to you. Go to cultural events or classes for adults at local libraries, museums, and parks—many are offered at little or no cost.
Some parents feel pressure for their children to be the best in everything. B e sure to show love and affection for your child often and for no special reason. Try not to compare your child to other children, including your other children. Remember that all kinds of skills have value, not only school or sports performance. Young children are learning all the time, and social and life skills are quite valuable. Teaching your child how to have fun and how to rest can be good lessons, too.
Assist Being Independent
Children can often do a lot more than you expect. Encourage your child to desire to do things on his or her own. Often this means involving your child in your family’s everyday activities. He or she may be able to help with chores, such as putting dishes on a low shelf. Even if things aren’t done perfectly (or quickly), your child will be proud to help. Once your child picks a task, allow him or hr enough time to do it well before moving on to a new task.
Your Child’s Space
Fewer items in a space can help a young child pay attention, while a space with lots of toys or books can be too exciting. Use low shelves with a few toys or books at a time, and rotate items in when your child is ready for a change. Have one low shelf for crayons, paper, or other items that your child can use with or without you. Whenever possible, provide child-sized furniture and other items, such as small blunt-nosed scissors or small plates and cups. Children often prefer real items, such as wooden spoons and bowls like yours, over plastic toy versions.
Don’t worry about small setbacks or be surprised when an activity or item your child loved one day is ignored the next. Your child is always growing into new ideas and talents. Keep in mind that repeating things is helpful for young children; you don’t need to find a new place to visit every week or a brand-new story to read every night. Repeating instructions and taking small steps in learning a new task is normal. If you or your child feels frustrated, set the task aside for a while or offer nonfood rewards for trying. As your child learns, watch for things he or she enjoys and does well. Your praise will help your child to keep trying until he or she succeeds.
Have funShow your child you are happy when he or she does a good job, and be upbeat even when you need to correct an error (or clean up a mess!). The way your child does a task and what she or he thinks is a task “well done” may be different from what you think. Allow plenty of time and space for trial and error. Find ways to play with your child that you enjoy, too. Whether you’re playing games to teach or purely for fun, plan to stop playing before either of you get too tired or bored. If the end of playtime is still fun, your child will look forward to the next time.