Home is a learning place – tops tips for parents of 3-4 year olds

Here is a great short video about how 3-4 year olds learn, taken from the Help My Kid Learn website.

Building it into your day

As a parent, you are your child’s first teacher. Your home is a place where lots of learning is happening every day – the most important thing is that your child enjoys learning. Young children learn by playing and by copying things they see you doing and saying. You can support your children’s learning by giving them lots of opportunities to do and say things everyday: both in the house and when you are out and about.

Ages and Stages

Children learn differently and reach the important stages of learning in different ways and at different times. In each age group we talk about some of the learning stages to look out for and how you can help your baby and your children to learn. We give possible ages when children reach certain stages of learning but often these ages don’t quite fit and the stages happen at other ages – earlier or later. So it’s important not to feel there is a problem if your friend’s child is doing things differently than your child.

Top Tips

  1. Talk to your child about what is happening and give them a chance to speak. This helps them become more aware of the world around them, and to listen, think and understand words.
  2. Play with your child – it’s one of the most effective ways children learn. As a parent, you are your child’s best playmate so try to spend time every day playing together.
  3. Read or tell stories. 10 minutes a day can make a huge difference. When you and your child both enjoy the experience of reading together your child will learn to love books. And if you can’t read a story, just tell one – kids love stories about grown-ups.
  4. Write notes. Let your child see you writing notes, lists or emails. Encourage them to use ‘pretend’ writing in play and as they learn to write let them make lists of things you need to do.
  5. Count steps, food or anything. It takes time to learn that 2 means two things, 5 means five and that the final number you count out refers to a total amount so count every chance you have.

You can get more information, tips, videos and resources here http://www.helpmykidlearn.ie/activities/3-4

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Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.

 

The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books (www.mychild.ie/books) and also on www.MyChild.ie  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.

 

In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  

 

Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  

 

In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the www.mychild.ie website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at www.mychild.ie

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from healthy.childhood@hse.ie

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