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How can I help with my preschooler's development?

The following tips can help with your preschooler's development:

  • It's never too early to make sure that your child is active: playing tag, doing gymnastics, swimming and learning to love the fun that comes from moving, stretching, jumping and running. Activity is one of the greatest ways to combat childhood obesity. Make it a family-fun time.
  • Reinforce good manners. There cannot be too many please-and-thank-yous.
  • No TV in the bedrooms. No TV during meals. No TV as a replacement for real people.
  • Set a daily limit for TV and video games. (Avoid screen media beyond video communication for kids younger than 18 months; limit screen media for older toddlers an hour a day of quality programming.)
  • If your child is interested in computers or video games, limit him to a maximum of 1 to 2 hours of combined screen time a day (TV, video games, computers).
  • Puzzles = good fun and high learning.
  • Play fun games that keep your child active, like keeping the balloon off the floor or throwing socks at each other in the bedroom. Even a nice game of catch or hide-and-seek will do the trick. If you have a specific game that you like to play, be open to playing it another way. A child may not be able to play Candy Land by the rules, but if you sit back and watch and listen, he may choose another way to play that he enjoys just as much.
  • Teach your child his first and last name, your real names (other than Mommy and Daddy) and his telephone number (important) and address. A great way to help him memorize his phone number is to set it to the tune of the first line of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."
  • Remember, this may be your last opportunity to spend such a high percentage of time with your child; teachers and peers get big-time attention soon enough. Take advantage of it! Now's a great time to start talking about meaningful things: to communicate your own values to your child and to teach him about how he fits into this great, big, wide world.
  • Keep on reading to your child. Just because he's started school doesn't mean that your job as teacher is over.
  • Be careful not to overprogram. Leave some down time for rest and relaxation and independent play, especially with you. This is how kids develop social skills and learn to cope with conflict and stress.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.