You asked

What can I do to help my child to learn during the formative years?

There are plenty of things you can do during the first six years of your child’s life to give him or her a good basis for future learning and development:

Making sure that there are adults around who care for them, and can help them to stay safe and healthy.
Supporting and believing in your child.
Ensuring that they get respect from the adults who care for them, and have a genuine interest in helping them to express their needs, feelings and uniqueness.
Teaching by example, including what behaviour is acceptable, and what is not.
Providing the materials, equipment and time to learn, as well as providing appropriate experiences.
Allowing your child to engage in real experiences, that teach the intricacies of daily life. Active involvement in anything from washing the car to doing the grocery shopping can have an enormous impact on the development of a young child.

Development is a very individual thing, and each child will attain childhood milestones at a different pace. While there’s no reason to treat this development as a race, it’s your job as a parent to provide your child with the opportunities and support he or she needs to do the learning he or she was born to do.

More questions

For many parents, child minders are the best child care option. Use this list to find out whether you’ve found the right one.
Finding quality childcare isn’t always easy, but it is possible if you know what to look for.
How your baby is looked after in childcare can have a long lasting impact on development, so it’s important to make informed choices.
Play is the single most important learning tool that young children have at their disposal.
Choosing the right child care is important to your child’s development – now and in future. Fortunately, there are some clear signs that the childcare you are considering is a good one.
The so called ‘formative’ years truly are one of the most important periods in any child’s development, and it’s important that parents and caregivers facilitate learning during this time.
Helping your child to learn during the early years sets him or her up for a lifetime of successful learning.
If you’re looking at several sessional preschools, and cannot come to a decision on a particular one, then looking at our checklist can help.
A play school or play group is a great choice if you want to prepare your child for formal schooling, and don’t need to have full day care.
A crèche is one of the better known child care options that offers full day services to a wide range of ages.

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