Practical Tips for Parents
Show that Learning is Fun
- Check out http://www.bornlearning.org
- Allow children the opportunity to explore and investigate their world
- Spend time reading, singing, and visiting together
- Provide children with a variety of materials including age appropriate art supplies such as water colors, paper, crayons, yarn, Popsicle sticks, glue, and clay. Spend time playing with your child, talk with them about the different colors they are using, or the process they took to create their masterpiece.
- Celebrate children’s successes by using encouraging words such as “you worked so hard to put your coat on by yourself, and you did it!”
- Invite children to help with household activities such as folding the laundry, matching socks, and making breakfast.
- In the car, play games such as “I Spy”, or make up stories together.
- With infants, playing games such as “Peek-a-boo” or “This Little Piggy went to market….” creates opportunities for bonding and fun.
- Make-believe with children, use costumes or make costumes out of blankets and hats.
Teach Healthy Choices
- Go to http://www.healthychildcare.org
- Begin washing hands at the sink with soap and water with infants to help hand washing become a habit. Sing a song such as “Happy Birthday” with children to show how long we should scrub our hands.
- Serve milk or water with meals.
- Provide a variety of healthy choices to children, “Would you like to have apples or pears with breakfast?”
- Invite children to help with setting the table or making a salad.
- Encourage lots of fun physical activity many times throughout the day. Play games such as tag, follow the leader, Simon Says, and Duck-Duck-Goose.
- Let children assist with grocery shopping, choosing fruits and vegetables in the produce aisle.
- Create bedtime rituals to assist with consistent routines and sleep schedules.
- Plant a garden with children to grow healthy fruits and vegetables.
- Visit http://www.brightfutures.org
- Attend community events such as children’s story hour at the local library, or attend a parent/child play group.
- Enroll your child in a quality child care or preschool setting.
- Give children many opportunities to play with friends such as inviting them over to your house, or planning play dates.
- Adults can play with children too; this provides opportunity for “practice” for the child.
- Talk to children about their friends.
- Allow children to play with other children without interference from adults unless it becomes a safety/respect issue.
- Find opportunities for different types of play with friends such as active and quiet times, planned activities and spontaneous play.