How to Encourage Your Preschooler’s Brain Development
Any parent of a teenager can tell you a thing or two about growth spurts. But did you know that your preschooler may be going through a growth spurt of their own? They may not be getting much taller just yet, but you can bet that their brain is growing rapidly.
We already know that the brain develops throughout a person’s life, so it’s never too late to learn something new. But what you may not be aware of, is that 90% of a person’s brain development happens before the age of five. In fact, you may not actually see your child grow much taller in kindergarten because the brain is using so much energy to grow.
So what does this mean for you, the parent of a young kid with seemingly boundless energy and unlimited potential? Well, you have a great opportunity to encourage your child’s learning growth and help ensure they are kindergarten ready. Here are some tips to take advantage of this period of exponential growth.
1. Talk to your child as much as possible.
Research has shown that parents who talk to their kids while going about their daily activities expose them to between 1,000 and 2,000 words every hour. Considering the average child enters school with a vocabulary of 3,000-5,000 words, just speaking to your child more often can have a significant impact on their language development. With parents spending more time at home with their kids than ever before, this is a great opportunity to talk to them more. Unsure of where to start? Try explaining what you’re doing as you’re working on the computer or doing chores around the house. Or tell them stories about when you were their age. By varying the topic and encouraging more conversations, you will naturally expose your kids to more words, setting them up for success.
2. Play games.
Learning doesn’t stop when your child puts down their pencil or book. Because their brains are developing so quickly, young children absorb knowledge from everyday activities and social interactions. Encourage this natural form of learning by playing games that will help them develop their math and reading skills. Card games, for example, help young kids learn their shapes, colors, and numbers. Board games can help them learn to count and improve their reading ability. Outdoor games like hopscotch and jump rope, which encourage counting and reciting rhymes, can further develop their number sense and literacy. Physical activity has also been shown to improve students’ learning.
3. Engage in formal learning
It’s important for young kids to have fun and play, and they’ll learn a lot just by doing that. But adding some structure to their day can prepare them for formal schooling and help them advance even faster. Set aside between 15 minutes to an hour each day for your child to learn. During this time, they can read, practice writing their numbers and letters, and do workbooks or go through flashcards. You can also enroll them in a program like Kumon, which is carefully designed to help preschoolers learn to read and develop early math skills. Early learners in Kumon also develop their handwriting along with traits like focus and determination, which can prove invaluable as they enter kindergarten.
Every parent knows how amazing their children are. It’s incredible to see a child learn to understand words, talk, and eventually begin to read. Much of a child’s development comes naturally, as they grow and age. But why not encourage them along when you can?