Dr. Carolyn Chambers Clark, Award-Winning Author and Wellness Nurse Practitioner

Help Your Preschool Child or Grandchild Grow

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Help Your Preschool Child or Grandchild Grow


1- to 2-year-old children need...


*clear and reasonable limits (“don’t touch the stove,” not “don’t be bad”)


*opportunities to use large muscles in the arms and legs (walking and marching, not

watching TV)


*opportunities to make choices (“do you want the blue cup or the yellow one?” Not “here, drink this”)


*activities that allow them to touch, taste, smell, hear and see new things (ask them to smell an orange or banana, let them touch a section of the fruit, and smell it; play different kinds of music and see what your child likes; take them outdoors and show them flowers, trees, and other objects; be sure to identify what each item is first)


*opportunities to use small muscles to manipulate small objects, such as puzzles and stackable toys or pots


*Opportunities to play with and learn about alphabet letters and numbers


*chances to learn cause and effect (“If you stack the blocks too high, they will fall”)


*opportunities to practice language skills (“What is this?” and “What do you want?” not guessing what the child wants or deciding for him or her)


*opportunities to touch and look at picture books, see their name and other words printed


What do 2- and 3-year-old children need to grow?


To grow, 2- to 3-year-old children need opportunities to...


*dress themselves, brush their teeth, and do things for themselves


*develop hand coordination by holding crayons and pencils, stringing large beads, putting puzzles together


*talk to you, sing along with you or a CD


*try different ways to move their bodies (reach toward the ceiling, touch the floor, make big their hips and then ankles, dance to music, play movement games)


*learn more about printed language and how books work


*Build vocabulary and knowledge by taking walks (and naming what they see), visiting libraries (and choosing books and listening to story hour), going to  restaurants (and try new tastes and flavors and naming them), visiting museums (and learning to name what they see), going to a park (and describing what they see), and visiting a zoo (and learning to name the animals)




Helping Your Preschool Child, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Intergovernmental and Interagency Affairs. Washington DC.


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