- When stopped for a train, count the cars with your child.
- Share with your child your best moment of the day and have him do the same.
- Use potty training to explain how the body processes food.
- Look for shapes in clouds.
- Provide opportunities for your child to help with real work around the house. More
Doing real, purposeful work develops a child’s a sense of self-esteem, self-worth, self-confidence, and independence. They also learn life-long practical living skills.
Simple jobs such as dusting can begin as soon as the child is walking and shows an interest.
Set a family expectation of always trying your best, and accept the job your child has done—don’t criticize the completed task. It takes time to learn a new skill, and mistakes are how we all learn.
Provide child-size broom, mop, bucket, cleaning and dusting cloths, etc. and let him clean along with you.
Provide a stool at the kitchen sink to help wash or dry dishes.
Teach him to use a peeler to help peel carrots or potatoes for dinner.
Provide child-size utensils, pitchers, bowls, etc. for helping to make sandwiches for lunch, cut and tear vegetables for salad, make his own snack, pour his own milk and juice, etc.
Let him help sort laundry by color or type, put the clothes in the washer, and pour in the detergent.
Teach him how to help fold the laundry taken from the dryer.
Provide a small basket for him to transport his folded laundry to his room and put it away.
- Play balance games like standing or hopping on one foot and stepping on pillows to avoid the hot lava."
- Point out constellations in the night sky.
- Teach your child how to do a summersault and a cartwheel.
- Be fair and consistent with discipline so that your child establishes a good sense of right and wrong. More
Discipline is not about punishments, rewards, or bribes — it’s about learning.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, along with most other child psychologists and early childhood development experts, promote the following information about effective discipline.
Discipline is never appropriate for babies under 12 months old. They cannot control their actions and cannot remember that a previous action was unsafe or inappropriate. Instead, redirect their attention.
Babies and young children do not misbehave intentionally. They “misbehave” because they are trying to learn from all experiences.
Try not to say “don’t touch” because babies learn by touching things and putting them in their mouths. Instead say “We don’t eat leaves” while gently pulling the hand away from the mouth gets the message across without confusion.
Never yell or slap his hands. He will not understand why you are hurting him for trying to learn.
Try not to say “no” too much with a baby. Overusing “no” will blunt its effect in the long run. Save it for more serious situations where he is exposed to danger such as playing around an electrical cord. Then say “no” firmly and remove him from the situation.
Have realistic expectations for your child’s behavior based upon his age and understanding. Too many rules will confuse and frustrate him.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, along with most child psychologists and early childhood development experts, strongly oppose hitting or spanking a child in any way or for any reason when disciplining. No matter what your child’s age, or what his behavior has been, physical punishment is always an inappropriate way for you to respond. Spanking only teaches a child to act aggressively when he is upset. It may relieve your own frustration temporarily, and you might believe that it will do some good; but there is no less effective way of disciplining your child. It does not teach your child an alternative way to behave. It also undermines effective communication between the two of you, as well as weakening his own sense of security and self-worth.
The experts strongly advocate that best and most effective way to deal with misbehavior after 18 months old is logical and natural consequences. Consequences must be consistent and relate to the behavior. For example: Throwing blocks after being told not to—take the blocks away until tomorrow; fighting with a sibling—he must play by himself until he can control himself; not wanting to eat at meal time—fine, he will be hungry a short time later but will have to wait until the next meal for something to eat.
Always be calm and use a normal tone of voice while disciplining your child (even if it means you take a time-out for a moment) so your child understands that this is the consequence for his behavior, not because you are angry.
Always encourage and reward appropriate behavior with your approval. Whenever you have a choice, take the positive route. When you notice that he has independently chosen to do something acceptable instead of misbehaving, congratulate him on making a good choice. By showing that you are proud of him, you will make him feel good about himself and encourage him to behave the same way in the future.
Do not reward or bribe your child with things and special favors for good behavior. You want your child to behave appropriately because it’s the right thing to do, not because he will get something in return.
- Teach your child how to answer the phone.
- Let him pick out his own presents for you or his siblings.
- Start to teach her a second language – numbers and easy words.
- When you turn your calendar to a new month, use the opportunity to teach him about months and the days of the week.
- As the seasons change, teach your child about what each one is.
- Let your child participate in naming pets.
- Let your child choose her own breakfast and snacks from some predetermined choices.
- Help your child start his own piggy bank and save for things he wants.
- Dance with your child.
- Play catch and kick ball in the yard to develop gross motor skills.
- Encourage your child to help you water plants and explain to her why you’re doing it.