The latest brain research has revealed how critically important a child's early years are. As noted author Mem Fox states, "Reading aloud and talking about what we're reading, sharpens children's brains. It helps develop their ability to concentrate at length, to solve problems logically, and to express themselves more easily and clearly."
- Read at least three stories a day: it may be the same story three times. Children need to hear a thousand stories before they learn to read!
- Read aloud with animation: listen to your own voice and don’t be dull or flat. Hang loose and be loud, have fun and laugh a lot.
- Read with joy and enjoyment: real enjoyment for yourself and great joy for the listeners.
Help your child develop language skills by giving your child opportunities to:
- Tell his/her name and age to someone;
- Name the colors;
- Point to eyes, nose, hair, elbows, shoulders, knees, etc.;
- Name the different kinds of fruits and vegetables seen at the store; and
- Talk about pictures in books and magazines. Even better - make a story about the pictures!
Help your child develop coordination by encouraging your child to:
- Hop on one foot and hop on two feet;
- Throw a ball into a basket or box;
- Draw letters or numbers in the sand or snow, or on the sidewalk with chalk;
- Complete puzzles;
- Use clay or dough to make figures;
- Use crayons, scissors, snaps, buttons, zippers; and
- Tie shoes.
Help your child develop independence by letting him or her:
- Make simple choices;
- Help choose clothing;
- Dress himself/herself when possible;
- Perform simple household tasks; and
- Spend time with a another family.