Young children learn things every day because they have so much to learn. “Look, Momma, a caterpillar. What’s it doing?” This can spark a teachable moment if you’re willing to respond. From learning self-care to observing nature, you can explore and learn with your child. His hunger for learning might tire you out, but his sense of wonder can be infectious.
When you read to your child, she may express interest in the words or numbers on the page. That gives you an opportunity to teach her letters and numbers. A gift of magnetic letters and numbers encourages her to identify each one. You can cheer her on as she learns numbers, letters and sounds through children’s television or on videos you show her. Electronic toys that say the letters or numbers or spell words can begin her phonics education. Learning the letters may help her read her first words, write numbers, letters or print her name before she enters school.
By the time your child reaches three years of age, he has discovered he has an identity different from yours. You probably notice that because of the number of times he says “no” in a day. You can help him learn other things about himself as he takes a bath, gets dressed in the morning or ready for bed. You could teach him the parts of his body and what he can do with them. He can identify the color of his eyes, hair and skin and learn an appreciation for people who look different from him. You can assure him that he has the right to tell others not to touch his body without his permission and which kinds of touch are inappropriate.
Inside or outdoors, your child learns many things about nature. She can plant seeds, watch them grow, and perhaps even contribute something that you serve for dinner. When you take walks in the park, you can help her identify animals or plants she sees. She can learn about the wind by blowing bubbles, watching clouds scuttle across the sky or watching a rainstorm. She can learn about the seasons by watching the trees and the weather or by noticing the ducks or butterflies migrating.
Teaching him life skills encourages him to become independent and frees you from having to do many things for him. Toilet training is skill that probably nears the top of your list, for both economic and hygienic reasons. You can encourage him to make choices by asking him if he wants to wear the red or blue shirt or which cereal he prefers for breakfast. He can learn to dress himself, working buttons, snaps, hook and loop closures, zippers and shoelaces. He will enjoy showing you what a big boy he is when he can do these things by himself.