No one expects parents to act as teachers or childcare providers. Or to be able to provide all the activities that a nursery might.
While children gain a lot from nursery, things that parents do at home can help their development more.
How to help young children learn at home
You can help your child to learn through the little things you do with them, for example:
Find ideas for new things you can try at Hungry Little Minds.
You do not need to set separate time or plan complicated activities dedicated to learning. These activities can be built into everyday life and play.
You know your child best. Avoid forcing them into lengthy planned activities if they naturally respond better to a mix of shorter activities. This can stop them getting bored or frustrated and keep them active, interested and learning through things they enjoy.
Keeping a routine
Do not worry about trying to keep to the full routine that your child had in nursery or with their childcare provider. However, children will feel more comfortable with a predictable routine, so try to make sure they:
Young children should be active for at least 3 hours a day in total.
It’s also good to get some fresh air every day. If you do not have a garden and are taking children outside to exercise, make sure you follow the rules on social distancing.
While inside, there are plenty of things you can do to keep children active, such as:
Television and digital devices
There are lots of ways to help your child to learn such as reading together and make-believe play. You can also use what they have watched on television or the internet to help their learning. Talk with them about what they are watching or use their favourite television characters in other games and activities.
Digital devices such as a laptop, desktop, tablet or smartphone can help some children learn. If your child does use them, try downloading some apps that will help them learn.
Set age-appropriate parental controls on any devices young children are using and supervise their use of websites and apps. See advice on keeping them safe online.
Try sharing things your child makes with your friends and family online and encourage others to do the same. Your child might enjoy seeing things they have made on the screen or seeing what other children have done.
You can also visit Hungry Little Minds for ideas of activities to do together without using a device.
Socialising while social distancing
Spending time with other children is important for your child’s development, but at the moment it is important that they stay at home.
It will help them if everyone in the home talks with them through the day, responding to them and being led by the things they are interested in.
Visit Hungry Little Minds for more information about talking with your child.
If you can, try a video call with other children. Younger children may not have a conversation as you would, but they can share activities or show each other things they have made or like.
Try a call with other people that your child knows, such as grandparents.
Sit and do the call with them to help. If your child does not like it try again another time, or have a call with family members while you are sitting down and eating a meal.
Try sitting with your child and looking at pictures of their friends or family. Talk about them and the things you have done together.
Complete guidance is available here.
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