One way to learn about the world is for your child to look around. There is much for her to see and learn. She needs to pay attention to what she can smell, feel, taste and hear. You can help.
Talk with her about the good smells you sense as you walk into a bakery or are preparing dinner. Of course, not all smells are not necessarily good; talk about those smells, too. Let her smell the onion and then talk about other things that have strong odors.
Listen for the sound of a helicopter going over your house and bring it to your child’s attention. Talk with her about the trash truck that you can hear way down the street. Certainly talk about the volume of the television or the soothing nature of music you listen to together. Listen to the way she describes the sounds she hears.
Go for a walk and talk about plants and how they feel when she touches them. Let her feel the soft leaves of a plant or the sticky or sharp ones of another. Pay attention to how it feels to walk on grass or on gravel.
See how she describes the things she feels. She is learning new words as she experiences new feelings.
Most children are probably already tuned into taste. The facial expressions your child uses when you introduce new foods for her probably give you a clue what she thinks of the taste she is experiencing. Talk about the different kinds of tastes and which ones are her favorites.
The more your child is aware of the world around her and how one thing is different from another, the more her mind continues to open up; it also opens yours, too. It may not change your brain like it does hers but it makes you appreciate all you see, hear, feel and smell.
While you are opening your little ones mind to the world around her, think a bit about what you are doing to help her be ready for school. Obviously you send her to school to learn but there are some skills she will need to get a really good start.
She doesn’t need to master all these tasks, but the more she can do, the better prepared she will be to jump into school learning.
Does your child know:
• What is her whole name?
• What is her address and telephone number?
• How old is she and what is her date of birth?
Besides this basic information, here are a few other things you can be helping her with getting ready for school:
• Can she speak in sentences?
• Can she follow directions that have more than one step?
• Can she tell a story by looking at the pictures?
There are so many ways parents help children learn. Make them fun times you can share with your child. When learning is fun, your child will want to do more of it and so will you.
Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and former executive director of Parenting Matters Foundation, which publishes newsletters for parents, caregivers and grandparents. For more information, email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-681-2250.