Just because they haven’t started school officially doesn’t mean they don’t need teaching – plus most children of this age are like sponges and they enjoy learning; they also enjoy pleasing us by showing what they’ve learned.
If you are going to engage in teaching your little one anything at this age you must remember to keep things fun without pressure otherwise they will switch off, things won’t sink in and they may develop an aversion to that topic. As well as fun you’ll need to overdo it on the praise. Even if they don’t fully complete a task use big gestures, excited faces and lots of praising words to spur them on.
A great idea is to set up a sticker chart for when they do well. A visual representation of their success will really make them feel proud and they can (and will) show it off to anyone who visits your home. Just make sure to be clear about the reason for giving each sticker, praise and language needs to be specific and consistent.
A great way to impart knowledge is through topic-based learning. Choose something your child loves – outer space for example. Plan some tasks which fit under this heading:
The possibilities are endless for learning opportunities and children will love to learn under the heading of their favourite topics – jungle animals, under the sea, down at the farm, robots, whatever your child loves or one after the other.
As a parent this also helps you to have a focal point for any learning exercises you set out. Remember to take advantage of all the free online resources which are out there; worksheets, printouts and games are all great fun and educational. Don’t bombard your child, try to go at their own pace. If you find they aren’t able to grasp a task at this stage that’s fine, move on and you can always return to it in a few weeks – at this age children develop rapidly and the chances are they will understand better after only a matter of weeks. Keep their spirits high and make sure you’re having fun too!
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