The foundation for a child’s readiness to learn and develop depends on a number of things.  This includes his/her physical well-being, social and emotional health, language skills and their knowledge of the world around them.

Health & Fitness

Parents must see to it that their child is healthy and fit.  Here are the things to consider:

  1. Nutritious Food – children in school can focus and concentrate better if they eat balanced meals.  Your child’s pediatrician can provide you with advice on what food your child can eat.  Make sure they eat servings of bread/cereals, fruits and vegetables, protein like fish, meat or meat alternatives such as beans; and of course, milk, cheese and eggs.  Avoid too many fatty foods and sweets.
  2. Exercise – Give your child opportunities to exercise and move.  Children will develop their large  muscles in his arms and legs if they run, jump, climb, dance, throw and catch balls.  Also, develop their small muscles in his hands and fingers when he learns to color with crayons, grasp objects such as blocks, coins, open and close boxes, play with puzzles, stringing of beads and so on.
  3. Regular Visits to the doctor – Make sure your child has medical checkups and has immunizations and dental care.

Socio-Emotional Preparation

Each child has different levels of social and emotional maturity.  This takes time to develop so a parent must be patient with the process.  But it is important to remember that one has to use each experience to build a child’s confidence, independence, curiosity, cooperation, self-control, empathy and so on.

For instance, a child builds confidence when parents or teachers help them feel good about themselves.  They will try new tasks if they are given praise and encouragement rather than constant criticism.  If a child builds confidence, they are willing to try again and again even if they don’t succeed the first time.

Language Skills

Give your child the chance to talk as well as listen.  Talking to your child even as an infant helps develop their language skills as they need to hear your voice.  So in moments when you are giving your child a bath, you might say, “It’s time to have your bath. Now let’s see if the water is cold or just warm enough.”  At the same time, listen and look the child in the eyes when she is talking to you.  Let her know that you hear what she is saying, nod your head and respond appropriately.

Learning about the World

Develop your child’s curiosity by asking him questions.  Start reading aloud to your child as this will foster a love for books and stories.  Make sure the shows she watches on television promote learning. Provide opportunities for your child to see and experience new things – a trip to the zoo, farm, libraries, parks and so on.

Growing and nurturing these different aspects will help you prepare your child to learn and to get ready for school.

By:  Michelle D. Simtoco

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