With school being out, it helps for parents to think of ways to teach their child at home. Start with supplies.
It really helps to have supplies around that encourage coordination, math skills and creativity. These tools teach your child how to express himself and learn how to care for different kinds of material. Supplies like paper, pencils and erasers are worth having around. Paint and brushes, markers, flashcards, rulers and Play-Doh are the next worthwhile supplies. Clay, tape, glue and scissors make creative projects. These are just the kinds of things you want to have available for your child to encourage learning.
Beginning to write is a skill worth teaching. When your child is just learning to write, it may look a lot like scribbling; it isn’t. Ask him to read back what he has written. Be excited about his writing efforts, whether it is scribbles, letters or his name. Watch his excitement as he masters this new skill.
As your child masters writing, be sure to have him write his name and learn to recognize it by sight. This is a skill he needs to master before he returns to school.
When you read with your child — which you should do on a regular basis — point to the words as you read them. He will learn that you read words from the left side of the page to the right and from the top to the bottom of the page. This is a skill he needs to learn.
Recent studies show that the size of a child’s vocabulary depends on how much his parents talk to him. Talk with your child about colors, numbers and anything you read about in the books you read together.
If your little one doesn’t know how to tie her shoes, this is an exciting lesson to teach her. As she learns this lesson, tell others about it so she can see how proud you are of her.
Counting stop signs or signals or every road sign available is a great way to help your child learn numbers. Do you know how many dogs are in your neighborhood? Do you know how many steps in your staircase to the second floor?
Teach your child to hang up her coat, put away her toys and books when she is finished playing. This kind of training will help her develop a lifelong sense of personal responsibility. It even helps her be ready to pick up after herself when she goes back to school.
How about teaching a science lesson to your little one? Show your child the dandelion and then see how many days it will take for it to be in full bloom. Pay attention to the plant that becomes droopy as it needs water. Teach your child to pay attention to the things around him.
Teach your child about shapes by cutting his sandwich into a square, a triangle, a rectangle and a circle. Edible math lessons are fun learning.
After you read a story to your child, ask him to tell you about the story. See if he can remember some of the details.
All these lessons are fun if you teach them in a fun way. You are your child’s first teacher. You can make sure that your child is ready for school by teaching him some of the same lessons he would be learning if he were in school today.
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. To reach First Teacher Executive Director Patty Waite, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-681-2250.