Following your Child's lead
Parents can support their children's play and interactions during everyday activities by following their children's lead. Following a child's lead involves a child's participation in activities based on his or her interests, supporting the child's actions and interactions with materials and people in the activities, and supporting the child's choices when he or she wants to change the focus of interest. When parents follow their children's lead, they can help their children become more confident and capable play partners.
Encouraging Child Learning in Everyday Activities
Intentionally including, or "embedding," learning opportunities in everyday activities at home or in your community is one way you can help your child learn new things. Embedding learning opportunities in everyday activities involves identifying what you want your child to learn, selecting the everyday activities that provide opportunities to learn things, and using brief "teaching" sessions with your child to help him or her become a more capable participant in his or her daily life.
Parent-Child Social Games
When infants begin showing interest in their parents and other adults, the time is right to play social games. Social games are back-and-forth, your-turn/my-turn infant-adult play accompanied by short rhymes or songs that engage infants in playful interactions. Some of the results of playing social games with your child are active child participation, lots of playful bouts of back-and-forth communication, and bunches of smiles and laughter. Enjoy!
Your Child’s Language Learning
Throughout the preschool years, children continue to learn new words and use language in new ways when interacting with others. You can support your child's language learning in everyday interactions through simple conversations about his or her ideas and interests. By responding to your child and encouraging him or her to try saying new and different things, you can help your preschooler become a talkative partner.
Early Math and Science
Children use early math skills throughout their daily routines and activities. This is good news as these skills are important for being ready for school.
But early math doesn’t mean taking out the calculator during playtime. Even before they start school, most children develop an understanding of addition and subtraction through everyday interactions. Other math skills are introduced through daily routines you share with your child, like counting steps as you go up or down. Informal activities give children a jumpstart on the more formal math instruction that starts in school.
Learning to read and write doesn’t start in kindergarten or first grade.
Developing language and literacy skills begins at birth through everyday loving interactions, such as sharing books, telling stories, singing songs and talking to one another. Learn how adults—parents, grandparents, and teachers—play a very important role in preparing young children for future school success and helping them become self-confident and motivated learners.
Social skills, including self-control and making friends, help children succeed in both school and life.
In this section, learn more about how children develop social skills starting from birth, and how you can support a child’s development of these important life skills.