Building A Foundation For Learning
While your child won’t be reading Tolstoy or Shakespeare at an early age, children are always learning from the experiences around them, and pick up language skills from the day they are born. They begin by picking up cues from those around them, and eventually move on to understand the meanings and structure behind words. You may not be able to teach them complicated materials before grade school, but there are ways in which you can set them up for success by building a solid foundation for reading, writing and arithmetic.
Read books together. When reading books to your child, make them an active participant. Point out objects and words in the book and have them repeat the word back to you. If it is a book you have read together multiple times, ask them about what just happened, or what happens next. If possible, choose books that focus on rhyming and sound.
Make a point to always be teaching. Even if you have a busy schedule and cannot read your child a bedtime story each night, you can teach them something daily using the environment around you. Children greatly benefit from associating sounds with objects, so next time you are on a walk, point out different objects and saw what they are, annunciating each word carefully (especially if you see signs that display text). If your child has questions, answer them and encourage conversation to use practice using the words they have learned.
Choose toys carefully. Toys can keep your child distracted while you make dinner or fold a load of laundry, but they can also be helpful teaching tools. Puzzles that have words in addition to photos, or electronics that say each word as buttons are pressed are great options to choose over another action figure or doll.