In my family, education is a huge facet of life. Truth be told, that at a very young age, I knew I wanted to be a dentist and I credit my parents for exposing me to early education, so I had a love of learning from the very beginning of my life. While I never want to demand to my children what career or what they should study later on (I want it to be their decision), I do want to expose them to the love of learning. Hayley is going to be starting kindergarten next year, and I want her to be ready to succeed. I have been “teaching” and “educating” her ever since she came out of my womb. I thought I would share some tips that I have used to allow Hayley to appreciate learning/education and to get her ready to transition from Preschool to Elementary School. I hope you enjoy them!
1. Read to your baby! I will say this over and over, read to them from the second they are born. Sure, they might not understand what you are saying but trust me, they are absorbing and listening! When Zane was born and Hayley was 2.5 years old, I would do a bedtime story to them at the same time. As both of them are getting older, their chooses of books have changed and now I read separate books to them at different times during the day.
2. Let your kids see you reading! If they see you reading and enjoying, they will be more likely to emulate you.
3. Make sure your children are used to a schedule routines. Both of my children are on a set sleeping, waking, eating, and play schedule. We obviously deviate on the schedule if the day calls for it, but generally we do follow a pretty rigid schedule. The reason being is they will have to get used to routine and schedule as they enter school. By starting early, they will be ready for school and not have trouble with adhering to the school schedule. No matter what, both of my children are in bed by 830 pm at the latest- a good night sleep is essential to a child!
4. Set up lots of playdates with your children. By doing playdates, they are learning how to interact with children and learning how important it is to share. In school, interaction with other children is key and by starting early, they will be ready. Give your girlfriend a call and head to the park with your children- not only will it be fun..it will be allow them to interact and learn important lessons!
5. Starting when your child is born, expose them to language. I am talking all the time to my children about anything and everything. It is amazing how quickly children pick up language. Show them the beauty of words at an early age. I also suggest pointing out objects around you to allow your children to pick up words associated with the objects. You will see me all day pointing and saying, “Zane, did you see the bird “(as I am pointing up at the sky) of “Zane, do you see the tree” (as I am pointing to the greenery)
6. Give your children a simple piece of paper and crayon. Allow them to explore and express themselves freely. By doing this, you are always them to use their imagination which is an essential part of childhood learning.
7. Flashcards- I love them and use them all the time! With Zane, I am starting with the alphabet flashcards and with Hayley, we are doing the sight word flashcards. Flashcards, whether you buy them or make your own, are fun and educational.
8. Attend your local library storytime. Most of the library storytimes are free and by doing this, not only are your children having fun but they are learning how to sit and listen. Sit and listening is essential when you are starting school, so why not start them early by attending a local storytime or puppet show.
No matter what you do, I highly suggest you start the love of learning early. I truly hope you take some of my tips and start to implement them in your kids life. I also will suggest checking out some of the great learning applications on the iPad/iPhone that Hayley has learned a lot from. While I do not want my children on computers or other forms of technology all day long, I do allow Hayley use of my iPad to do her fun, learning games. It gives mommy a break and exposes her to early education at the same time-what can be better! Some of the great preschool ones I have found are Build a Word, Magic Spell, Monkey Math, Dr. Panda, Berry Happi,and PaintSparkles. Happy Learning!
*As a member of Clever Girls Collective, I was selected to participate in the Healthy Habits program sponsored by Kimberly-Clark and Colgate-Palmolive. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own. #healthyhabits #cgc