The following are some ways you can help teach your young child:
- Set aside time each day for reading a book with your child. Take turns reading and guessing what will happen next. Compare the events in the book with other stories your child has read.
- Play games with your child that involve mathematical problem solving. For example, pretend that you are buying and selling baseball cards. If each card costs $5, how many cards can you buy for $40? Or pretend that you are running a grocery store and calculate the cost of various purchases.
- Take your child to museums, parks, zoos, and concerts. Discuss with your child what you see and hear. Help your child expand his or her vocabulary and range of first-hand knowledge.
- Visit your local library with your child. Encourage your child to borrow books in an area of special interest to him or her (sports, science-fiction, etc.). Follow up at home by encouraging your child to read the books. Limit the amount of time that your child watches television.
- Each evening ask your child what he or she did in school. Let your child know that you care and that you think school is important. If your child gives you a vague answer, ask follow-up questions such as: What was the most interesting thing you learned? Did the teacher ask you any questions? What was your favorite part of the day? What are you doing in science? Are you still having trouble in math?
Children look to their parents for guidance. Demonstrate that you think reading, math, science, and other school subjects are important, and your child will think so, too. Even if your own skills are rusty, do not be embarrassed. Your child will appreciate your interest and the time you take to focus upon him or her. Remember: Be supportive. Do not criticize. Do not yell. Praise your son or daughter for his or her effort. If he or she does not pronounce a word accurately or solve a problem correctly, be patient and encourage your child to try again.