Toddlers are at an important stage of their life and they’re keen to learn all they can. You can help give your toddler a great start in life by helping them learn new skills and gain new experiences at home.
Early childhood education is not just about being taught at school or in formal educational settings. Toddlers and young children learn every day, in all sorts of ways and don’t need formal teaching to pick up crucial new skills and experiences. As a parent, you can do a lot to help your toddler learn at home in your daily life and the skills and knowledge they pick up could serve them well as they continue to grow up.
How Do Toddlers Learn?
Toddlers and young children are natural born learners and thrive on having fun and intriguing things to learn. They can learn a lot of vital skills and knowledge just from being at home. For example, the key ways in which toddlers learn include:
- Through watching what’s going on in the home around them.
- Listening to conversations between family members.
- Trying out new activities, often copying a parent or older sibling, and helping around the home.
- Asking questions about things they don’t understand.
- Practising the new skills as they learn them, so they’re remembered for future times.
Ways To Encourage Learning At Home
There are numerous ways in which you can encourage your toddler to learn at home – even when it seems like too much fun to actually be learning! Toddlers love to know what you’re doing and are prone to asking lots of questions about what, why and how. Where possible, practical and safe, they enjoy having a go themselves, mimicking the actions of mum or dad, and trying out new experiences.
It’s the actions and tasks in the home that you may find mundane and boring that toddlers are often most intrigued about. For example, they may want to know more about what and how you’re making a cake, what’s involved with washing up, why your hovering the floor or want to be involved with hanging out the washing.
Rather than simply answering your toddlers questions about what you’re doing (although that is fine too), it’s great if you can get them involved in tasks too. Although there will certainly be situations where it’s not possible for your toddler to have a go, there are lots of ways in which you can get them involved and learning.
For example, if you’re making a cake, your toddler could help by stirring the mixture in the bowl. You could also give them some of the mixture in their own bowl, so they could have a go at spooning out the mixture into cake tins. They’ll also no doubt love helping to clean the bowl and lick the spoon!
If you’re putting out the washing, toddlers can help by handing you the pegs to hang clothes on the line. When it comes to cleaning the house, toddlers can also assist if they’re intrigued by what’s going on. Although the vacuum cleaner may well be heavy, you could let them hold on with you and have a go at cleaning the floor.
There are lots of similar ways in which you can involve your child with simple tasks around the home – use your imagination to come up with unique ways. And, don’t forget, that pretend ‘playing at home’ toys are readily available for toddlers and can help their learning abilities. For example, mini toy vacuums or irons and iron boards can be fun for children and make them feel that they’re doing as mum does.