3 to 5 Years Continuing to Learn

Many parents wonder if it is time to start teaching their children the basics of reading and writing at this age. Some children who are ready to learn these basics will know some simple words. But there is no need to push your child. It is important to nurture your child’s eagerness for learning. 

  • Your child will show you what he wants to learn.
  • Make sure he is having fun, even when he is doing something you would consider learning. 
  • Learn through play – point out letters as you read together, count the number of peas on a plate, ask her to choose the red, purple or blue socks. Make it a game. 
  • Do not drill your child on letters, numbers, colors, shapes and words. Instead, let him explore what he wants to explore. 
  • Talk about what you are doing as you do it. This is a great way for children to learn. 

Some educational television shows and computer games are helpful in teaching your child. It is a much better experience for your child when you or another caring family member sits and watches the show with them. This is also true for computer games. You should sit with your child and “play” with him to make sure that the game is not too difficult for his age. Remember that the most important thing is having fun and learning. Making learning fun and exciting for your child will help him do well and be happy in school. 

Activities that Encourage Learning

Preschool is an important way to help your child get ready for school. Your child will be around a variety of activities and people at preschool. He will be around children his own age and learn how to play with others. 

Starting preschool, even part-time, is a major step that will broaden your child’s world.

  • This is the perfect time to introduce him to zoos and museums. Many of these have special programs for young children.
  • Remember that every new experience is a learning experience for her. Camping. Meeting new friends. Trying a dance class. Every new experience broadens his world. 
  • Give your toddler large crayons and large pieces of paper for drawing. 
  • Give older children paints, markers, tape, crayons and paper. 
  • Arts and crafts can help your child learn to write. 
  • Show your child how you use writing. Write grocery and shopping lists together. 
  • Buy a children’s dictionary that has pictures next to the words. Look up words together. 

Learning to Play with Other Children

Children with active social lives are happier and more ready for experiences such as school. Once your child finds playmates she enjoys and plays well with, encourage these friendships. Maybe your child even finds a “best friend.” What can you do to help your child develop friendships? 

  • Encourage him to invite his friends over to your home.
  • Sharing his home, family and toys gives him a sense of pride.
  • Your home need not be fancy or filled with expensive toys. Just make it warm and welcoming for friends. Make it a fun and safe place children enjoy being. 

When children get together to play they also begin to argue with one another. This is normal. It is another learning experience and often they will work it out on their own. Try to stay out of minor arguments unless the children ask for your help. When you do get involved, use it as a teaching moment. 

Some Thing to Try:

  • Parents can ask all the children involved for ideas on how to settle an argument. 
  • Let the children give their ideas. 
  • Everyone will feel better once everyone’s voice has been heard. Pick a solution or suggest, “What if we try Kevin’s idea?” They will probably all agree so they can get back to playing. 
  • If the situation is becoming worse no matter what you do, use the method you used when your child was younger. Get them interested in something else. 
  • If you separate them for a few minutes it often lets everyone settle down. 
  • Be sure to end the problem with love, forgiveness, kindness and respect for all the different ideas. 
  • Never hit or spank children for not getting along. Remember that they are just learning how to get along with one another. This is a skill that takes years of practice! 

—- from First5 Advice for New Parents

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