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Five to Thrive Pre-Schoolers

Building Blocks for Healthy Brains

Everyone wants the best for their child; neuroscience shows us that you can do five simple things, every day, to nourish their growing brain.

"Playing with me and helping me to play on my own or with other children builds connections in my brain that make it possible for me to think and plan, to make sense of the world around me, and to develop social skills"
(Five to Thrive)

By the time your child is three years old, their brain is around 90% of its adult size. New connections are being made and strengthened all the time. Everything you do will shape your child’s brain and their view of the world around them. Children learn best when they feel safe, loved and relaxed.

You may have noticed that your child is becoming more and more adventurous, independent and able to tell you about their thoughts, feelings and ideas. They may be starting to play with other children (rather than alongside them) and this is very important for their social development.

Although your child may be widening their social circle, you are still their safe anchor. They might not need as many cuddles as when they were first born but it is still important that you engage with them on their learning adventures and that you respond to their individual needs.

Pre-schoolers are programmed to learn and explore through play; it’s the fastest way for them to learn. Even Einstein said that play is the highest form of research! Providing opportunities for your child to explore and experiment, e.g. through mixing paint colours or cooking ingredients, encourages them to be a curious learner.

Encourage your child to ‘keep on trying’ in their play. It’s sometimes tempting to take over if they are struggling but if they can do it themselves, it will motivate them and give them self-belief. You will know when your child becomes too frustrated and that’s the time to offer support. However, when they’re happy to keep trying, they are developing their concentration and problem-solving abilities. You may end up with a soggy painting that takes days to dry but if it is all their work, your child will feel more motivated and positive. Playing also provides rich opportunities for talking. Encouraging speech & language skills, independence, curiosity and a love of learning will all help your pre-schooler to be ready for school.

Pre-schoolers have great imaginations; encourage them to be truly creative. When you value the process rather than the end product you are showing them that they are capable and that they matter. You may end up with a soggy painting that takes days to dry but if it is all their own work, your child will feel more motivated and positive.

You may wish that you had as much energy as your little one! A good way to let off steam is by being outdoors and having some active time every day. You won’t notice the noise or the mess when you are outside. Connecting with nature has many benefits for overall health and well-being for everyone. It’s easier for your child to relax when they have had the chance to burn off some energy.

When you encourage children to do things independently in their daily routines, such as helping to prepare food, dressing themselves, and blowing their nose, you are helping them to develop feelings of being capable. When children feel good inside, it helps them to manage their behaviour.

Play also provides rich opportunities for talking. Encouraging speech & language skills, independence, curiosity and a love of learning will all help your pre-schooler to be ready for school.

It might feel a bit early to be thinking about school at the moment but we would encourage you to join our School Readiness Workshop if your child is 3+. Find out more here.

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