FAQ on Social Media Sites for Parents of Young Children That Aren’t Being Answered By Experts

I find myself commenting too often for comfort on social media sites intended for parents but obviously not run by people who know about child development and how children learn.  It is very upsetting when advice is given by non-experts and parents jump on board.  I have, therefore, started a list of frequently asked questions that should be answered by people who know but are, instead, being answered by well-meaning others. I anticipate writing this sort of article periodically as I see online misinformation. 

I invite you to share this post on every parent Facebook page, with every parent Twitter hashtag and all Google+ groups that post about young children.  Share it far and wide because misinformation can be so harmful to children.

Question:  What I can purchase to encourage my child to read?
Answer:  Parents need to model a love of reading and writing for their children. Be sure that your children see you reading books and writing on paper if that is what you would like them to learn to do.  The ability to read and write is developmental.  They need to have a certain level of large & small muscle development, brain development and language acquisition skills that come with time.  We cannot force a child to read and write before he/she is developmentally ready but you can help children to strengthen large & small muscles through physical activity and encouraging use of the fingers and hands.  Molding Play Doh, ripping paper, using tweezers, painting on easels, doing dances & activities that cross the midline of the body all help to create the pathways for later reading and writing. 

Question:  What chores should my young child be doing?
Answer:  Young children can have a responsibility.  We have job charts in preschool classrooms to teach cooperation and caring for property.  It is essential that the job be one that is achievable.  You want your child to feel success, not failure.  You want your child to get the “you are capable” message and not “you are not able.”  Overwhelming young children with a list of chores is counterproductive.  It also helps to give a responsibility that your young child enjoys.  Some children are organizers.  Others like to wipe the table like their teachers do.  Figure out your child’s preferences by watching what the child tries to do with you. 

Question:  Which are the best workbooks for young children?
Answer:  Young children learn best when they are active and exploring (so do you!).  High quality preschools do not teach by sitting children in front of workbooks; yet, they learn to read and write.  Infuse new vocabulary, math skills and critical thinking skills in everyday activities.  Go to the supermarket and look for certain letters or numbers on shelves and products.  Look for different color cars.  Remember that young children are very egocentric so making activities about and from young children captures their attention and curiosity.  Take dictation when your child tells a story and show him/her the words that were said.  Make your child’s bedroom a print-rich environment like high quality preschool classrooms.  Label the window with the word “window.”  Label the chair with the word “chair,” etc.  If your child attends an early childhood center that does the right thing and teaches through the senses and real life experiences, ask them for tips about continuing that methodology at home.  If your child wants to do workbooks, especially if older siblings do homework, that’s fine but it should be entirely voluntary.

Question:  How can I get my child to stop saying, “No” to me all the time?
Answer:  The word “No” is the most powerful word your child knows.  It makes adults stop, look and react. First, don’t get into a power struggle.  Your child is testing his/her own power far more than personally testing you.  There doesn’t need to be a fight.  Stay calm.  State the facts.  Give a choice that is still within what you need done.  When children are looking for power, we diffuse the need by giving them a little. When it is cold out and your child refuses to put on a coat, state a fact – “It is cold out so we are wearing coats.”  Calmly give this choice, “Would you like to zip it or should I zip it?”  Repeat the choice a few times.  If your child refuses to choose say, “OK then I will choose – I will zip it.”  Most times, children will then make the opposite choice – “I will zip it!!”  and that’s fine because the coat is still being worn and the child has done what you wanted.

Do you have other questions that you would like included in a future FAQ blog post?  Email me at cindy@HelpingKidsAchieve.com.

You may also want to read:


 “Teach the Whole Preschooler:  Strategies for Nurturing Developing Minds,” my book, is available NOW from WW Norton (publisher) and is on pre-sale on  AmazonBarnes & Noble.  In store/pre-sale orders will be shipped in the fall.
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Copyright 2017 © Cindy Terebush
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