There are many, often simple, things you can do to help support your child's development alongside their nursery education.
1.Read, read, read
The best way to help your child is to read as much as you can! Listening to you reading their bedtime stories will introduce your child to an explosion of language and vocabulary. This will not only help develop their speech, but it will also improve their imagination, listening skills, empathy and knowledge of the world. By encouraging an early love of reading, you are giving your child the best start in their education and providing the strong foundations for this essential skill.
For reluctant readers, introduce them to your favourite childhood book. Children love seeing you, as a parent, get excited and this enthusiasm is infectious. Visit your local library and make use of the resources and any story time sessions. Audiobooks are another great resource, which can easily be played in the background at playtime.
Parks, nature walks, canals and woodlands are free, accessible and exciting places for your child to explore and develop their physical skills, such as running, jumping and climbing. At the same time, your child is learning more about the world around them, and any interactions with other children or adults will aid their social development. Both children and adults will benefit from the fresh air and it is often a place to relax after a challenging day.
3.Communication with the nursery
Often nurseries will have opportunities throughout the year for meetings with parents to discuss how your child is developing. Nurseries may have particular areas of focus, for example number recognition. These targets provide a great way for you to directly help your child's learning at nursery and they can improve the working relationship between nurseries and parents. If your child is working on recognising the numbers 1-10, this can easily be integrated into daily life at home, by pointing out the numbers in books, on the house door, on buses, in recipe books and anything which your child sees on a daily basis.
It is fun and easy to do, and you are supporting their learning at nursery. The nursery years are very important for a young child's brain development, and any repetition of learning will be hugely beneficial to their understanding.
4.Relax and enjoy your time together
Now is the perfect time to introduce your hobbies and let your child enjoy them too. Whether it is baking, sports, golf, drawing, painting, exploring or travelling, allow your child to see you enjoying these things, and they will want to join in too. You are showing your child that it is important to fill life with things that bring you joy. It can be as simple as sharing a book, exploring in the garden together or playing with your old childhood toys.
The most important thing you can give your child is your time and attention. 15 minutes of focused play (phones and distractions away) is all it takes to help strengthen your relationship and you will be doing wonders for your child's development.