Tips for encouraging pre-schoolers to learn
- Use repetition as a tool. Yes, it may drive you mad to read the same three books every night for a month, but your pre-schooler will love you for it because each reading is familiar and comforting and it helps him understand his world a little better.
- Let him learn organically. You don’t need to ‘teach’ him – show him, model the behaviour you want from him, answer his questions and help him when he’s asked for your help. He’ll be a confident learner if you let him grow and develop at his own rate instead of being pushed along by your timetable.
- Encourage him to ask questions. Even though the ‘why?’ questions can seem never-ending, take the time to answer each and every one of them. Your pre-schooler can now understand simple explanations – watering a plant makes it grow, sitting in the sun makes you hot – so your answers will give him more tools with which he can make sense of the world.
- Let your child finish his story. Given that the telling of most pre-schoolers’ stories can test the patience of a saint, it is sometimes tempting to cut him short or finish the story for him. But if you bite your tongue and let him finish, you’ll be teaching him that you value what he says and that you listen when he speaks.
- Don’t send mixed messages. Your pre-schooler still relies heavily on body language to understand what you are saying to him, so always ensure that your body language and facial expressions always match what you’re saying.
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