On The Road Again: Ten Ways To Boost Early Learning In The Car

Relationships & Family Blog

As a working parent, it can be easy to feel guilty and overwhelmed when it comes to the area of early childhood education. You want your child to have the best education that he or she can possibly have, but it is hard to find time to work on even basic preschool readiness skills. Here are ten ways that you can help your toddler gain basic skills during your morning or afternoon commute.

1. Sing together. Your child can learn so much from basic songs. While it can be tempting to turn on the radio and zone out, try finding a children's station or album that you can both sing along to, or help your child make up a song. By singing together early on, you are showing your child that singing is fun and familiar, and you are preparing your child for preschool and kindergarten. 

2. Count. Teach your child to count to ten. This is a great accomplishment for a toddler, and you will be glad that you did not miss it.

3. Point out letters and words on signs. As your child transitions from being a toddler to a preschooler, he or she may take an interest in letters. By pointing out letters that they see on signs, you begin encouraging early literacy.

4. Look for shapes. What shape is that stop sign? How about the red light? Searching for shapes is a fun game that will encourage your toddler to see patterns in his or her surroundings. 

5. Play "I Spy." This game is a great way to improve your child's vocabulary skills. When they are young, it is fun to play based on color words, and as they get older, you can use the first letter of the word such as "Riddle me, riddle me ree. Guess what I see? It starts with a 'P'."

6. Teach them basic geography. For example, do you travel east or west to get to work? What street do you live on? What street is the daycare center on? How far is it from mommy's or daddy's work? These may sound like silly things to discuss with a three year old, but this basic information will be very important for them as they get older.

7. Let them play. There are a multitude of early childhood learning apps available for smart phones now. Every now and then, it is okay to let your child simply play a game on your phone. Just make sure that it is developmentally appropriate, and that it is not a habit. 

8. Check out simple audio-books at the library. Audio books are great for developing your child's love for reading. They are also a great way to help your child learn while riding in the car.

9. Talk to them. Tell your child about your day. Tell them about what you do at work. Describe interesting things that you see on your commute.

10. Listen to them. Believe it or not, toddlers have a lot to say. By asking questions about their day and listening, you are establishing early communication lines that will be vital as they grow.

If your child is old enough to be enrolled in preschool, visit The Kiddie Lodge.

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21 January 2015

Tips for Adult Caregivers

For the past few years, my husband’s grandfather has been living in a house trailer on my in-laws’ property. My mother-in-law tirelessly and selflessly cares for her father on a daily basis. I’ve often watched the loving and respectful way she treats her father who has both poor physical and mental health. While I admire the way that she handles her situation, I worry that she doesn’t take enough time for herself. I fear that she will become exhausted and unable to tend to her daily duties if she doesn’t slow down some. On this blog, you will learn some tips to stay energized and refreshed while attending to your adult loved one’s needs.