publication date: Mar 9, 2020
author/source: Dr Elizabeth Kilbey
- Spending one-on-one time with your child helps with their social and emotional development. We all lead busy lives so think about how you can fit activities in to your routine. This time each day with your child/ children will prove vital in helping them develop their social skills and emotional problem solving.
- Talking is key to developing language skills. So, talk with your child about as many different things as possible even if they can’t say much back. Go for a short walk down the road and describe, or name, all the things you can see. There are endless fun twists to this game – name all the red things (use any colour), name or count any forms of transport, name or describe any plants or animals… Or use the opportunity of short journeys to have a conversation about what they have been doing or something that interests them.
- Group activities are great for language development. Find out about any groups in your area for young children. Places to look including local internet/Facebook groups, the library, local leisure centre or Children’s centre who will all advertise any groups happening near you. You can also search for local activities for your 0-5-year-old by using the postcode finder on the Hungry Little Minds website.
- Meeting up with other parents can be a huge source of support. Find out about any groups or meet ups near you. The focus should be on ways for adults to get together, not just about the children. For example; weekly rhyme time session at the local library or groups at your local children’s centre.
- Include family and friends in your parenting journey for invaluable social and emotional support for you and your child. And research tells us that including these informal sources of care can help with children’s language development by the time they start school.
- Read – foster an interest in the written word. Lots of parents read with their children regularly and this is great for their development – not just reading them stories but talking with your child about what’s on the page in picture books. But there are also lots of opportunities throughout the day to read words, for example on food labels, on clothes, on toys, in supermarkets, on buses, on billboards and adverts, you don’t need pricey books. There are words everywhere so take the chance to show as many of them as you can to your child.
- Make up a story – you don’t always have to read a story, you can make one up. Use bath time or bedtime as an opportunity to make a fun short story with some of their toys or even some made up characters. Get them involved in deciding "what will happen next" – this is brilliant for developing imagination and communication skills.
- Have a routine. Research tells us that children thrive in calm, predictable environments. So, find a way that works for your family and try and stick with it each day. Perhaps think about how you would like bedtime, or mealtimes, to work and build a routine around that.
- Get them involved in day to day activities like making their bed, tidying up toys and vacuuming. This is a good way of gaining their cooperation and there are so many opportunities for talking and learning.
- Give them choices. Learning to make choices and show preferences is an important skill to support learning. So, give your child the chance to make choices where they can it’s easier with things they can see so they can learn the names of things, like what breakfast cereal to have, what top to wear, or which story to read. It can be as simple as asking if they would like a banana or carrot stick.
You can find out more things to do with your child at Hungry Little Minds Campaign.