Three year old children are now able to have more control with their fine motor skills and have more understanding and heightened curiosity about the world. Parents as the educators can pass on values with small activities and help the child increase their self confidence in their daily lives.

The following are a few general examples to be implemented in the home.

(Not) Watching TV

  • Read a bedtime story every night even if it is only a short one. Make it a routine as it will also help children settle down at night.
  • Tell true stories at bed time instead of reading for variety of bedtime routine.
  • Borrow children’s books from your local library to add variety to the collection of books read.
  • Avoid using the TV as a babysitter. Limit the amount of time spent watching TV and videos etc. Set limited times when your child is allowed to watch TV.
  • Teach your child how to turn off the TV. Allow them to self-regulate as to when it is enough to be sitting in front of the TV.
  • Turn TV off when family are having meals. This is setting a good example of when to watch TV and allows for dinner conversation.

Outdoors

  • Take time to walk at your child’s pace when outdoors/in public.
  • When outdoors, spend time talking and looking at things along the way. Name things along the way to help your child’s vocabulary.
  • Use this time to share news regarding things that are related to family/friends, people and things that are important to you and your child.
  • Remind children to wear hats and sunscreen before going out to play.
  • Practice kerb drill when walking.
  • Help your child to know the meaning of traffic light colours.
  • Encourage the child to put each activity or toys away when completed or finished playing with them.
  • Encourage the child to be physically active as it leads to a feeling of well-being and helps promote good muscle tone and strong heart and helps deals with stress. It also helps them sleep better.
  • Encourage the family to exercise together dancing to favourite music, swimming at the closest aquatic centre or in your pool, kicking a ball at the park or in your backyard bushwalking, etc.
  • Encourage respect for the environment.
  • Involve the child in caring for the garden. Allow them to plant a small herb garden. Use the herbs to add taste to foods. This can also encourage them to eat the foods since they were involved in the preparation of the food.
  • Children can do small tasks that help develop respect for the environment by carrying the household compost to the compost bin or carry out the papers to the recycling bin.
  • Discourage waste for example, remind children to use one piece of paper for drawing and to use the other side as well. A chalkboard is less wasteful.

Forming good eating habits

  • Encourage the child to eat using child size cutlery. This can help them eat independently and gain confidence.
  • Encourage healthy eating habits to lessen the chance of diet related diseases by offering some children prefer raw vegetable. Offer sticks of carrot or celery. Offering a variety is good.
  • Plenty of wholegrain cereals such as breads, rice, pasta and noodles.
  • Lean meat, poultry and fish.
  • Offer milk, yoghurt and cheese.
  • Encourage children to drink water instead of juice or cordials or soft drinks contain sugar, preservatives intake.
  • Choose foods low in salt.
  • Expect the child to try new food but don’t insist that they eat it if they don’t like it.
  • Introduce foods repeatedly and they might one day change their mind and give it a try or even like it.
  • When at the dinner table ask questions and show interest in your child’s day.

How to encourage self esteem

  • Tell them that you love them.
  • Take time to listen to them and talk to them.
  • Spend time with them.
  • Help them to find the solutions to problems.
  • Encourage them to follow their interests.
  • Display their work in the home.
  • Celebrate their achievements and milestones even small ones.
  • Allow your child to choose between two appropriate sets of clothing.
  • Allow ample time for the child to dress themselves in the morning.
  • Encourage child to carry their own backpack, bag or personal belongings.
  • Help them to learn their surname address and phone number.
  • Observe the child and become aware of their interests, so that you can provide challenge.
  • Be friendly with error and remember that learning happens when a child is able to attempt a new activity with encouragement from adults.
  • When dealing with errors in grammar, no need to correct but one may repeat the sentence correctly to avoid humiliation for the child. It will keep the experience positive rather than having the feeling of being corrected / rebuked.
  • Give the child positive feedback and resist saying you did that the wrong way. Correct by setting the good example.
  • Remember it is the process of learning that is important not the product.

Activity Ideas

  • Encourage a love of music as music is wonderful to help with stress as a way of relaxation.
  • You could give the child access to a saucepan and wooden spoon or other kitchen paraphernalia that are safe.
  • Implements that are kept in a special place in the kitchen to be used for percussion, (tapping sticks, tubes etc.)
  • Pick your child up and dance with them in the kitchen (if it’s big enough).
  • If your lifestyle permits take a child to group music lessons which are fun (Yamaha do them using keyboard) children pick up music skills very quickly if you start at about 4-5 years.
  • If the child has a 2nd language spoken in the home, take them to Saturday language school.
  • Use everyday activities such as driving to school/day care to play games such as “I Spy” to help children learn their sounds.
  • Encourage children to play board games such as Junior Scrabble and Junior Monopoly. They will need a lot of help initially but this will help them to learn to take turns. Board games teach children a range of skills such as counting and word building and are good alternative to watching TV.
  • A chalkboard and chalk is an ideal way for children to practice drawing and writing as errors are so easy for them to erase.
  • Provide children with a variety of simple toys not an overwhelming number of elaborate expensive ones. Pack things away and rotate them so children can manage to tidy their toys away with very little help.
  • Children this age would enjoy puzzles, simple construction toys, simple musical instruments, play dough, plasticine, crayons, country pencils, puppets and books.
  • They love to create cubbies using old cardboard boxes, etc. Save old cardboard boxes for creative activities and such.