New Parent? Start Now To Prepare Your Child For Success In Preschool & Beyond!

As a new parent, you have probably already begun to plan for your child's future, especially in the area of education. Although it is not possible to predict the field of interest or specific career path a child will ultimately take, parents who start early and take a proactive stance toward their child's educational needs are making a positive commitment to the success and happiness their child will experience as an adult. If you want to help prepare your baby for success in both education and life, but are unsure of what you will need to do, the following tips will help!

From Birth Through the First Birthday 

Although the first months after your new baby arrives often pass in a sleepless haze, this is a time when important bonds are formed that will help children become confident, secure adults. It can also be the best time to develop a healthy sense of structure and form good habits that will bolster the child's physical and emotional development throughout their growing years. In this first twelve months, parents can: 

  • begin to set healthy routines to enable children to be both well-rested and well-nourished
  • foster and promote early learning and social skills by playing with the child and safely introducing them to new situations and experiences 
  • help them form relationships by ensuring that both parents and siblings spend time with the child each day
  • offer children regular exposure to language and the written word by reading to them each day

From Age One Through Two

Even though your child grew at an exponential rate from birth through their first birthday, the one year span between age one and two is critical to the development of the child because that is usually when they begin to become increasingly mobile and able to actively communicate with those around them. In addition, children of this age are becoming increasingly independent as they use their growing communication and development skills to begin to think for themselves. Parents can continue helping their child progress during this important period by: 

  • adding age-appropriate responsibilities to the child's routine, such as learning to place toys into a basket after play and introducing new skills such as using a toothbrush, spoons and rounded-edged forks at meal time
  • exposing children to age-appropriate educational songs and rhymes, such as alphabet and number songs and encouraging them to enunciate words
  • encouraging kids to learn how to count by counting fingers, toes, toys and other items in their environment
  • offering them a choice between two snacks and talking to them about each
  • introducing them to group activities, such as play groups, to build new social skills and develop confidence in group situations
  • continuing to spend regular, quiet time with them for reading and interacting

From Age Two Through Three

With the massive growth spurts slowing down, children between the ages of two and three turn their attention and energy toward adding words to their vocabulary, bolstering their social skills and beginning to test their limits. Parents can help children make the most of this busy year by: 

  • continuing to enforce regular times for naps and bedtime
  • adding tasks for the child to master, such as folding a wash cloth, picking up twigs in the yard and putting away their toys each day
  • continuing to increase their choices where possible, such as choosing which book to read or which jacket to wear
  • striving to have meals as a family, where the child can learn necessary skills such as table manners by observing and interacting with other family members
  • helping their child deal successfully with separation anxiety by encouraging regular visits with grandparents or other trusted adults
  • taking the child on age-appropriate outings, such as the zoo, the park or other setting where the child will have new experiences to deal with
  • continuing to include time each day for reading, playing games and singing songs
  • introducing age-appropriate, consistent discipline for unacceptable behavior 

Once your child reaches the age of three, enrolling them into a good preschool can help them continue to broaden their educational boundaries and help prepare them for further education. To find out what programs are offered near you, reach out to your local school system or preschool like Kid's Country Child Care & Learning Center and speak with an early childhood development specialist about any concerns or questions you may have.