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5 expert tips for parents of preschoolers

Photo courtesy of Katie Callahan

Ah, preschoolers! They're like little sponges, absorbing so much knowledge all the time. And they can be like little hurricanes, leaving a path of destruction and parental frustration wherever they go. Here are some great ideas for maximizing your child's learning every day, and having fun — and saving your own sanity — at the same time.

Courtesy of Gail Joseph, Bezos Family distinguished professor in early learning and founding executive director of Cultivate Learning at University of Washington:

1. Engage in frequent conversations with your child, using your home language. Describe what you are doing and what your child is doing throughout the day.

2. Play with your child.  Join them on the floor and follow their lead!  Describe what they are doing while playing – embrace your inner sportscaster!

3. Use big words!  Throughout conversations, or while reading books, use advanced vocabulary words and offer a child friendly definition. When your child says something like “Look, there’s a dog,” repeat what they said and offer some new words, “Yes, it is a scrawny dog.  Scrawny means kind of skinny.”

4. When managing your child’s behavior, tell them what you want them to do, rather than what you want them to stop doing.  For example, say “use your inside voice” instead of “no yelling.” Instead of “no running,” say “walk, please.”

5. Make everyday moments count by using math words.  Count everything you can, and talk about more and less, name shapes, and play board games.


Related: Looking for a preschool? Tips from parents and educators


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