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Parents as Teachers

As a parent, you play an important role in your child’s development and learning! Everything you and your child do together will teach important lessons that will help them grow and learn about their world.  Even simple everyday events provide excellent opportunities to enhance your child's development.

As your child's first teacher, you play a critical role in supporting kindergarten readiness.  You may be wondering what you can do at home to promote skills that will help your child to be successful in school.

Play is Children's Work

Play Blocks Photo

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. While children do need time to play alone and with other children, research shows that playtime with parents is also essential. Children want time with their parents. It makes them feel special.

Parents are encouraged to regularly find time to spend playing with their kids. This should include one-to-one with each child and group time with the whole family. If you are a single parent or have an only child, occasionally invite family or friends over to play.

In pretend play, let the child develop the story. Get into their world. Let them go with it. Ask questions. Play along. It’s OK to be silly and have fun!  Also, when applicable, parents can use stuffed animals or puppets to act out real-life situations that can teach problem-solving or social skills. Let the puppet demonstrate the wrong way to handle a situation. Then, along with input from the child, act out a better way. Afterward, let the child do the same.

Other ideas:

  • Play outdoors. Throw balls. Push kids on swings. Make mud pies. Go on a hike around the neighborhood. Take a nature walk in your backyard.
  • Play games – card games – board games – silly and wacky kids games. Help them learn to take turns, how to win and how to lose. Praise them. Encourage them. Laugh with them.
  • Get involved in a craft project together. Build a jigsaw puzzle as a family. Bake cookies. Paint a picture.
  • Listen to music together. Sing along. Play rhythm instruments along with music. Get out the guitar or keyboard and make music.
  • Read a book together. Ask questions. Ask them to change the story or make up a new one.
  • Watch a movie together. Find out what they liked – how they felt. Discover the child’s interests. Comment on and discuss any bothersome content either words or actions.
  • Play kid games like: Follow the Leader – Guess What I Am? – Hide and Seek