Ensure That Your Child Is Ready to Learn
Make sure your child’s:
- Physical needs are met with a healthy diet, enough sleep and rest, exercise and good medical care;
- Social and emotional needs are met;
- Confidence, independence and cooperation skills are built;
- Discipline is appropriate and consistent;
- Play is stimulating;
- Questions are answered;
- Caregiver or preschool teacher has books to read to your child and does read to your child every day; and
- Day is filled with different learning activities.
Know what your preschooler needs.
- Loving parents or caregivers who respond to their cries or noises;
- To feel safe and comfortable;
- To hear and make sounds;
- To move around;
- To be able to play in safe areas; and
- To play with safe toys.
- Activities that allow them to use their muscles;
- To experience their senses and develop language skills;
- To work with their hands;
- To learn to do things for themselves;
- To play with other children;
- To continue to learn about their movements;
- To build their vocabulary;
- To learn about their surroundings; and
- Opportunities to make choices within limits that you set.
4- and 5-year-olds need:
- More books, games and songs;
- Chances to do science, math and art activities;
- To build their self-reliance and language skills; and
- To become aware of the world and people around them.
Introduce babies and toddlers (birth to 2 years) to language.
- Talk to your baby or toddler often. Talk to your infant during feeding; look at family photographs and tell your child about the pictures; or tell the baby what you see out the window—a bird, bus, cars.
- Show your baby things, name them and talk about them.
- Encourage babbling or your toddler’s trying to say words.
- Sing songs and read nursery rhymes.
- Read aloud each day, even if it’s just for a short time.
- Have your child handle books—books made especially for babies or toddlers, such as interactive books (lift-the-flap or touch-and-feel). This will help your child with motor skills and language development.
Introduce young children (3-5 years) to language.
- Talk to your young child often and encourage your child to speak by asking questions and talking about what happened during the day.
- Show your child new things, making sure you name them, and teach your child new words every day.
- Read aloud each day, even if it is just for a short time.
- Teach your child the alphabet.
- Check your local public library for books made especially for 3- to 5-year-olds.
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Communications and Outreach, Parent Power: Build the Bridge to Success, Washington, D.C., 2010