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First Teacher

4 Ways You can Be an A+ First Teacher for Your Child

Early childhood development and learning start with parents first

According to the National Institute for Early Education Research, high-quality early childhood education can boost a child's development, reduce achievement gaps, and even have long-term physical and mental health benefits. But education doesn't just happen in the classroom, it also happens at home.

A parent shapes how their child moves forward in life because, after all, a parent is their child's first teacher. Hillsborough County Head Start sees the importance of a "first-teacher mentality" every day in its students and recommends all parents adopt the first teacher mindset by following a few easy steps.

Ask about Your Child's Day
By asking your child about their day, you give value to what they did and reinforce the importance of what they learned. The more interest you show, the more open they will be - this will establish the importance of communicating with each other early in your relationship.

Read to Your Child Daily
Reading aloud opens up their minds and lays the foundation for a child's future reading and writing skills. Even when they can't read or write, young children are developing skills and absorbing anything and everything around them. Reading to your child helps introduce new words, expands their imagination, and starts nurturing their love of literacy. Looking for new books to read to your child or group story times? Check out your local Hillsborough County library for the latest children's best seller or different events like Bedtime Stories Circle Time or Puzzle Mania.

Limit Screen Time
Screen time can be beneficial to older children when researching and completing homework, but for young children it detracts from their educational development. Not only does screen time delay the growth of their communication skills they would normally learn during face-to-face interactions, it is also linked to children being less active and more obese. To combat the negative effects of technology, limit your child's screen time and promote more active play time that is essential to social, mental, emotional, and physical development.

Do a Daily Activity Together
Together time is an important part of early childhood development as your child is constantly learning from everything they see, including from you. From putting away groceries and making dinner to cleaning up the house and running errands, each activity is a chance for you to teach your child - why you need groceries, what healthy foods you should eat, the importance of cleanliness, and how to take care of yourself. You can also incorporate local field trips into your daily activity like a beginners bird walk at Lettuce Lake Park to learn about different species or visiting Pet Resource Center to learn about how to care for an animal.

Anything you do can turn into a learning activity for your child; you just need to be open and aware.

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