Toddlers in pre kindergarten love to learn. Their worlds are expanding at a phenomenal rate, and with the possible exceptions of what broccoli tastes like or what happens when you wake up Mommy at 2 a.m. asking for a story, they are ready to cram as much information as possible into their little head.
Young toddlers in pre K and child care centers enjoy the environment in part because of all the learning, that’s why it’s important for parents to encourage that eagerness even when they aren’t in daycare.
Here are a few things parents can do that will help promote higher learning for their toddlers.
1. Read To Them and Have Them Read By Themselves
It’s important to read to your kids when they’re young — and as long as they want you to! Reading aloud to your kids can help stimulate their brain development, promote bonding with parents, grandparents and siblings, and expose them to new ideas and concepts. Unfortunately, only half of infants and toddlers are read to by their parents on a regular basis. Reading to your kids will greatly improve their lives — and yours. There’s nothing quite as cozy as snuggling with a sleepy toddler in footie PJs, reading a favorite story.
Once your little ones are familiar with certain stories or can at least read a little bit, have them give it a go themselves, while you provide help when necessary. They’ll struggle through some words, but once they figure it out they will be extremely happy and proud of themselves. Reading with your child is just as important as reading to them, and of course you can continue to do both.
2. Give Them Simple Tasks
Assigning simple chores to your toddlers might sound like giving them work, but it’s actually productive in a different way. Successfully completing a task gives children a sense of accomplishment, and having a simple but regular chore to complete — maybe sorting socks while you fold the laundry, picking up their own toys, or even scooping kibble into the dog’s dish — will also build their confidence and overall sense of competency. Kids who are entrusted with tasks in this way are likely to believe that they can do other tasks like dress themselves or make their own breakfast.
3. Turn Off the TV and Talk, Talk, Talk
Although they may be entertained by the bright, changing pictures, kids who are in pre K can’t learn much from television. Toddlers learn best by not only hearing real life people speak, but hearing real life people speak to them. Kids learn, on average, about one new word a week and then can usually say about 50 to 100 words by the time they turn two. A good tactic to talk to your children and help them learn new ways is to narrate your day to them. This also allows you to field questions, explain your actions, and just generally help them understand the growing world around them.