Want to know the most common question I am asked as an Early Childhood Teacher?
What can I do to help my child at home?
Naturally this would usually come with a long winded, personalised to the child and situation answer, but really the simple answer is……
Keep it R.E.A.L
R is for READING
Reading is THE most valuable gift you can give to your child. Read everyday, every thing, everyone needs to read! - Reading is so much more than stories! Don’t restrict yourself to reading the old faithful bedtime story. From an early age it is important for children to realise that print carries meaning. The words on a stop sign mean that the car has to stop here. The print on a menu tells me what I can choose to eat. The print in the phonebook helps me find someone to come and fix the fridge. The print on the street signs tell me where I live. The print on shop signage tells me what the shop is called. PRINT IS EVERYWHERE!
Let your child look at the menu at the cafe while you read out the options. Read out the recipe while you are cooking. Let them play with books and role play reading!
E is for ENGAGE
Engage your child in everything you do. Invaluable learning skills can be gained and reinforced doing the most everyday tasks!
Whilst doing the groceries talk about what you are doing.
Can they choose 4 red apples for you? (colour, counting)
Older children could choose the cereal that is the best value for money (comparison between size and cost)
Whilst your cooking dinner? If I cut this tomato down the middle I will now have two halves.(fractions)
Could you write on the shopping list, milk? (writing,phonics)
Let your children gain independence, social and communication skills, by doing things that you would normally do. Let them talk to the checkout operator and handle the money. Let them ask the post office for a stamp and put the letter in the mailbox. Engaging in the every day not only lets your child acquire invaluable life long skills but can help end whinging! Once they are school age, ENGAGE in your child’s education. Year after year it amazes me the direct correlation between parents that you never see at school or show no interest in what their child is doing and underachieving or misbehaving students.
A is for APPLAUD AND APPRECIATE
Your child is an individual with talents that need to be appreciated and applauded. You are the primary teacher of confidence and self esteem. Don’t dwell on the negatives, appreciate your child’s talents and applaud their effort regardless of the otucome. It is amazing to see a child’s confidence soar with a bit of appreciation and encouragement.
L is for LOVE, LAUGH and LEARN together.
A teacher can teach your child to love learning, but it is your job to LOVE your child. Teach them to laugh. Laugh when times are tough or you make a mistake. Keep it in perspective, maybe the fact that little Billy only wants to play in home corner seems like a big deal now, but you WILL be laughing about this on his 16th Birthday. Seeing you relaxed and laughing at the situation helps your child do the same. Being able to “laugh it off” helps teach your child resilience and self coping skills. LEARNING IS FUN. Try not to battle over it! Let your child know that learning is a life long process. Even you don’t know everything (even if you think you do!)
Learning is something we can not deny. It happens every day wether we are aware of it or not. By keeping it R.E.A.L as parents, we can create confident, enthusiastic, learners who will have a love of learning for life!
For more ideas on how to prepare your child for school check out our article
“Preparing Your Child For School” over at Lovely Living.