Entertaining Your Preschooler

Give your toddlers a head start


We all want the best for our children and that includes giving them:

  • a safe and healthy environment

  • fresh food and fresh air

  • opportunities to learn about the world

  • love and security

The best way to achieve all these objectives, is to play with your children when they're preschoolers - and that includes reading them books. Stories can be read to troublesome toddlers to calm them down and to your little angels to reward them! 

Creative play helps your toddler learn

It's never to early to start speaking Latin - especially when "It's good to be king!" Get your cute baby T-shirts here!

Children Grow Rapidly

It's not news to tell you that your preschoolers are constantly growing and changing - one look at their clothes will tell you that.

But don't let your children grow too big! Obesity is becoming a serious problem and healthy eating patterns start in childhood. Here are some easy and healthy family meals.

What we often don't realise, is that their brains are growing at an even faster rate than their bodies, and they must have sufficient sleep to ensure their bodies can grow healthily. Getting your toddler to sleep will be much easier if you've instilled good sleeping habits when he was a baby.

All children love to learn - watch any children, from any culture and you'll see their insatiable interest in everything around them.

As parents, we must ensure that our children have a stimulating - but safe - environment, so that they can experiment, observe and experience as much as possible.

Children Learn Through All Their Senses

As we get older, we tend to rely on our sense of sight, and maybe hearing, to learn. We read, we observe and we listen. Children touch, taste, smell, look and then listen.

It's quite pointless to expect toddlers to learn by listening to you - they're not being naughty when they gaze at you with those big eyes as you explain that it's wrong to spray your expensive perfume all over the bath (you spray the bath when you clean it, they're copying your actions - they just haven't refined all the details yet!).

The best way to teach your children about their world, is the most difficult for you. It involves letting them try to do things for themselves (always under your supervision, of course). And one area that often causes a great deal of angst is potty training - but there are ways to make this a smooth transition for your toddler.

When you're rushing to get to work, the temptation is to dress your toddlers, make the beds, tidy the room, pack the bags etc etc, while they remain passive recipients or observers. It takes much longer if you allow your toddlers to decide what they want to wear, to dress themselves, to begin making their beds and so on. But if you deny them the opportunity to learn these things now, when they want to, you really have no-one to blame when they don't know how to look after themselves later.

Help your toddlers learn


Children Learn By Doing

Children learn by doing - it bears repeating.

Children are also experts at the scientific method - they observe their environment; they formulate hypotheses and they test these by carrying out experiments.

The toddler throwing objects from a high chair isn't doing it out of malice, to make you prematurely grey! It's part of learning what happens if you drop different sized objects from a height; what happens if you put a bit of force behind the objects and throw them; what happens if you tip that plate of squishy cereal upside down; what happens to the milk if you pour it into the vegetables .....

When your children become astrophysicists, they'll thank you for letting them conduct their early experiments in such a positive environment!

And if you've been blessed with not one but two babies, you'll know that the workload progresses exponentially, not mathematically ... Twins are not twice as much work ... they're four and five times as much!

Give your children confidence to learn

Fostering Learning

It's not desirable to just let your children do whatever they want to do - you need to provide firm guidelines from an early age about what is acceptable and what isn't. By setting these boundaries - and being consistent with them - you'll give your children a secure environment in which to carry out their experiments.

Children go through specific stages of development, when they learn particular skills much more easily than at other times.

Around 6-8 months, babies will respond to the expression on your face, not just to a familiar face. At this time, too, they begin to realise that objects out of their sight continue to exist - this is why hiding games are so popular. You can entertain this age group with games of Peek-a-boo for extended periods of time and can easily coax a grumpy baby into a good mood with the game.

Around 10-12 months, children begin to imitate parents' behaviour - so if you're a smoker, you can expect your baby to mimic smoking (you've been warned!). This is the age when you can start to utilise this interest in the world, and teach your children how to comb their hair, wash their hands properly, feed themselves and so on.

Around 18 months, toddlers are usually mobile and this is when you must be certain to provide a safe environment for learning. At this age, children have very poorly developed memories - which is why you seem to spend so much time repeating warnings. They're not being deliberately wilful - they just can't remember that you told them yesterday not to climb daddy's ladder because it's dangerous (besides, daddy climbs it all the time). You told them not to eat the dog's dinner - yesterday - but you're always telling your children to finish eating everything on their plates and the dog left food on its plate, so ... what's a child to do?

This is why you must be constantly vigilant; toddlers learn that roads are dangerous, that swimming pools are dangerous, that knives are sharp, that stoves are hot - because you're there, reminding them, all the time. Eventually, they'll move on to the next stage of development and start to remember what you tell them. They'll have learnt to trust your judgement and will believe you when you say they mustn't play on the roof - without having to try it just once to make sure you're telling the truth!

Around 2 years, toddlers are becoming increasingly independent - this is the time your toddler wants to do everything "by myself". And this is the time you must try, at all costs, to avoid conflict with your children. Get tips on potty training and how to avoid fussy eating patterns developing and reap the rewards with a peaceful 

The "terrible twos" are aptly named for many children while others sail through this stage. There is a great deal you, as a parent, can do to improve the chances of plain sailing.

The two year old is caught in that awful limbo between babyhood and childhood (the only similar transitional stage is between childhood and adolescence). Toddlers are propelled towards independence by their physical, intellectual and emotional development; but are often held in babyhood by their reliance on parents.

The tantrums come when these two forces meet head on.

It is possible to foster your toddler's growing need for independence while also ensuring that your world runs smoothly!

One area of conflict is often clothes and what to wear; it's cold outside and you want your children to wear warm clothes but they want to wear a favourite t-shirt and shorts. The trick is to get to the wardrobe first! Put out two sets of clothes and let your toddler choose one.

Another problem area is putting toys away. You can tell the children to put their toys away; you can threaten them if they refuse; you can shout and yell when they won't; you can punish when they shout back and you can have a nice, quiet little nervous breakdown!

Or, you can make a game of the whole thing: I bet I can peel the potatoes before you can put those toys away. And the challenge is on - especially if you keep commenting on the progress of the game: I've only done one potato and you've already picked up all the blocks - I'm going to do all the rest before you've put the cars and dolls away - oh no, you're beating me - I'll have to peel faster.

By removing the conflict, you give your children the chance to develop independence in a stress-free way. This will pay off as your children get older. They will have learnt that you're there as a friend and an ally, not as the enemy. They will want to please you by doing the right thing (when they're old enough to distinguish between right and wrong); and most important of all - they'll know that you love them, because you've shown it in your actions - and they'll continue to love you in return.

Around 3 years, your children begin to look outside their homes for friends and role models. Peer groups start to assert a strong influence on their behaviour. Your pacifist children will come home from preschool shooting each other in games because that's what their friends play and your angels will come out with words they've never heard at home.

The big difference between two and three lies in language. The three year old has a much better grasp of language and language gives control over the world. Once children begin to use words to describe concepts as well as objects, they're on their way to mastering their environment. Now they can ask questions and begin to understand the answers; they become aware of themselves as separate people. They also become aware of you as a separate person, with feelings and needs.

There's much more you can learn about your children's development, but this brief overview should help you appreciate the milestones in their lives!



Click now to turn your Terrible Twos into Terrific Twos ...


These Preschoolers Tips contain hundreds of ideas for indoor and outdoor activities for preschoolers.

  • games

  • simple crafts

  • learning about science

  • nature activities

  • art and music

  • language games

  • no-bake recipes

  • play dough recipes

  • outings


Language skills are important

How to Keep Your Children Healthy

Give your children a healthy start and watch them thrive.

How to Keep Your Children Safe

How to avoid the biggest silent killer in the home

10 Tips to keep your kids safe


How to Keep Your Children Happy



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