There are so many ways in which you can help your child at home, and they don’t need to involve ‘formal’ learning!
It may sound obvious, but talking to your child and listening to what they say in return are two of the most important things you can do. Chat about anything you like! Name the fruits and vegetables as you go around the supermarket, talk about what you’re making for dinner, make up stories with toys as you play, talk about your day at bedtime. If your child uses a dummy, try to save it for sleep – children can’t learn to speak clearly if they are holding a dummy between their teeth. Say nursery rhymes and sing songs together – and have fun!
The importance of reading with your child cannot be over stated. Listening to stories stimulates the development of imagination and vocabulary and helps children to understand and make sense of the world around them. Make reading a story a part of your bedtime routine each day if it isn’t already, and try to make time for stories at other times in the day if you can, too. Children’s experiences of reading during the early years shape their attitude towards it in the future – fostering and encouraging a lifelong love of books is one of the most valuable gifts you can give a child. Best of all, access to thousands of amazing children’s books is completely free if you join the library!
Have fun with numbers – count grapes as you share them out onto plates, count the stairs as you go up or down them, spot numbers on front doors and lamp posts when you’re out and about! Number rhymes and songs are a fun way to learn how numbers work. If you’re struggling to remember any, have a look here for some inspiration.
Encourage independence. It is understandably extremely tempting to continue to do things for our children, even when we know they are capable of doing them for themselves! When you’re in a hurry to get out of the door, putting their shoes and coat on for them seems a lot easier than waiting while they struggle to do it! However, a growing sense of independence is vital for a child’s healthy development, both physical and emotional. So please do encourage your child to try. Let them have a go at pouring their own drink from a small jug, even if it means mopping up a spillage. Ask them to put on their wellies, even if you then have to help them get them off and put them back on the right way round. Work up to putting coats on by themselves, starting with getting arms into sleeves, and eventually learning to do their own zip. Now for a word on toilet training. We are here to help! Once you feel your child is aware of the need to use the toilet, and you’ve made a start on toilet training at home, please feel free to ask us to keep going with it whilst your child is with us. Our toilets are tiny, but if your child would rather use their own potty to begin with, please do bring it in. Don’t be afraid to send your child in wearing pants – we are used to dealing with accidents, and would far rather do that than risk setting back your efforts by having your child back in pull ups every time they come in.
Read your child’s observations on Tapestry – we will try to give you ideas for their ‘next steps’ wherever we can, and will work in partnership with you to help your child achieve them.