As the parent of a preschooler, you are probably amazed at the rapid growth you see in your child's social, emotional and intellectual development. You are likely experiencing an endless array of questions as your child becomes more and more enamored and interested in the world around him. Nurture his curiosity and encourage the developmental growth by making the most of your daily activities together.
1. Story Time at the Library
Attending a story time geared towards preschool-aged children is an activity that nurtures development in social, emotional and intellectual ways. Because you attend with your child, perhaps sitting next to him or holding him on your lap during the story, he continues to develop a secure emotional attachment with you. He learns to sit quietly while the story is being read, and perhaps even to raise his hand when he has a question. He experiences the intellectual gains and vocabulary enrichment that come when you read to a child, not to mention that his love for books is nurtured.
2. Pretend Play
The next time your child wants to play house, indulge her. Make-believe play actually helps a child feel confident and secure as well as perform well in school. Using props as she plays teaches her to think symbolically--something essential to learning math and reading. Playing make-believe allows children to express their emotions in ways they aren't always able to articulate. Letting her be an adult as she serves you tea or a superhero as she runs around the room builds her confidence. And when you or a teacher participate in the play, you help encourage her imagination and take the make-believe scenarios even further.
Invite your preschooler's friends and parents over for a playgroup in your home or at a park. Your child will learn social skills such as sharing and taking turns as he forms bonds with the other children and their families, especially if you meet regularly with the same group. He may also pick up new tricks as he watches his friend skip around the park or pumps his legs on the swing. Playgroups aren't just for kids. You'll benefit from having time to visit with the other parents as you supervise your kids together.
4. Family Vacation
Though it may be the opposite of what you would expect from taking a vacation, your preschooler will actually develop leaps and bounds during a family trip. In addition to the social and emotional growth that comes from spending time with new people in new places, the exposure to these new people and new places expands his vocabulary and teaches him new things about the world. Your child's grandpa may explain tides to you preschooler as they walk together and collect shells at the beach; a conversation with a park ranger in Yellowstone might result in your 4-year-old becoming the family expert on geysers. All this builds his confidence as he'll no doubt enjoy showing off his knowledge to his friends when he returns home.
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