Parenting Technique 59 – Think “learning” all the time and remember that you are your child’s first and most important teacher.” Part V (See Parenting Techniques 54 – 58 for background.)
Fours Years to Five
The jump here is to “Why?” and “How?” During this last year of developmental learning, your inquisitive child will seek information from you daily. Whenever possible, be there to explain what is going on, how things work, and the reasons for many different rules and regulations. During this transition time, have fun as you expose your child to as many concepts as possible including colors, letters, numbers, shapes, and reading. Introduce them all through play, repetition, and explanation. Be careful to avoid anything that resembles drill and practice. Facilitate what we call “emergent literacy” and “emergent numeracy,” a major part of the gradual process of school readiness.
Now that your child is asking you questions, you can ask yours too. Your questions will serve to tune up your child’s already inquisitive mind.
How to Play: Here are some wonderful sample questions:
* Who is in your family, in your neighborhood?
* Who are your friends?
* What can walk, talk, eat, sleep, breathe, fly, sit, stand, hear, think, drive?
* Where do you live and go to school?
* When do you eat, sleep, play, work, and travel?
* Why do you become happy, sad, tired, angry, or scared?
* Which one is the biggest, smallest, softest, hardest, cutest, happiest, and funniest?
– adapted from Constructive Parenting by Sally Goldberg, p. 52
During this last year of developmental learning, “play as a child’s work” is progressing into “work as a child’s play.” Your child really does want to help you. Now that you have his or her enthusiasm combined with new advanced skills, go ahead and foster the process. Instead of just focusing on play, games, and entertainment, think about chores and all the meaningful activities your child can help you do. Start now, and you will always be glad you did.
Ideas of March…
Success breeds success. Whatever task you have in mind, break it down into small parts. Present it in such a way that your child will be able to do it right. Remember how smart your child really is? Very smart. He or she wants to make a real contribution… and can tell the difference! Remember to use ”please” to start and “thank you” at the end. Your child will highly value both your respect and appreciation.