We’re all adapting to living in a “new” normal and this can be especially hard on kids. Parents play an important role in helping children make sense of what is going on around them. While not all information is appropriate to share, it’s a great time to sit down and talk with your child. Find out what they know, what they are hearing and, with the help of KidsHealth, grab some tips to help you talk about this pandemic with your child.
Beyond the current global events, there are many topics you can engage with your kids during this age bracket. As your child grows and becomes more aware of the world around them, more and more questions will come your way. We may not be able to help you answer all of them, but we certainly want to help! Explore our tips and resources below.
Please note, during this pandemic, as the country reopens, not all of our tips will be accessible, especially those that pertain to your local library. However, some libraries are offering remote programs to benefit your child.
Financial Tips for Parents
Preschoolers are starting to understand the meaning of money, and this is the time to teach responsible saving and spending. At this age, you may decide to give a small allowance each week and your child may be doing some chores around the house like simple cleaning (picking up room, helping with dishes). Use allowance as a tool to teach responsible spending and saving. You can show a child how to save and purchase things with money that has been saved.
- Count Your Pennies. Coin sorting is a great activity for preschoolers. Teach your child about money by helping sort colors, sizes, and values.
- Be a Financial Role model. Your child will learn about saving and spending from you. Talk about the things you’re saving up for and show how the money you’re saving for college is adding up.
- Take it to the Bank. Most banks will let a child have their own account if a parent signs them up. Help your child save and show how to make a deposit and check the balance.
Finance-related Book Recommendations:
- Paddy’s Pay Day by Alexandra Day
- Max’s Money Machine by Ken Wilson-Max
- Just Shopping with Mom by Mercer Mayer
Additional Finance Resources:
- Kids’ Money is an interactive resource for parents, teachers and kids designed to help children develop successful money management habits and become financially responsible adults.
- The Preschool Children’s Understanding of Money fact sheet has ideas and activities you can employ on how to improve how your child understands money via The Texas A&M University System.
- Raising financially savvy children involves teaching them a variety of aspects from budgeting to planning, earning and saving. Mint, an all-in-one financing app, offers resources available to help parents tackle personal finance with their kids, an important life skill.
Health Tips for Parents with Children 3 to 5 Years Old
Kids love the kitchen! Children can be excellent helpers in the kitchen when given tasks that are a good fit for their development. Asking them to help in food preparation develops an interest in food and how it can be combined or prepared. It also teaches helping and counting skills and cooperation. Try to allow enough time to prepare meals to avoid feeling rushed and stressed. Be patient and give your child a chance to help. Ask him for ideas of colors or foods to include in a meal, and then it can be a shared experience of planning, making, and enjoying a meal at home.
- Be on the Move. You can get moving right in your own home. Dance with your child while making music from maracas made with beans and plastic covered containers. Race up the stairs in slow motion to see who gets there last.
- Stretch Out with Yoga for Kids. Yoga can be fun for kids and adults. Teach your child to do poses like “tree” or “cobra” – or get creative and make up your own moves. Explore Yoga 4 Kids for ideas.
- All Scrambled Up. Encourage your child to choose colorful vegetables to put into an egg omelet, then talk to your child about the different flavors on the plate.
Health-related Book Recommendations:
- A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead
- Fast Food by Saxton Freymann & Joost Elffers
- Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Additional Health Resources:
- Look at nutritional needs for all the members in your family by using ChooseMyPlate from the USDA. Build healthy eating habits one goal at a time! Use the Start Simple with MyPlate mobile app to pick daily food goals, see real-time progress, and earn fun badges along the way.
- KidsHealth offers resources for parents, kids and teens that offers advice on heath, behavior and growth – from birth through the teen years.
- Plant a garden at your home. You’ll grow your own veggies and get exercise at the same time. Many cities have community gardens, more information visit the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension: Garden & Yard. Explore information about planting, harvesting, and storing all that you grow.
Literacy Tips for Parents with Children 3 to 5 Years Old
Preschoolers can understand and use nearly 1,000 words. They also begin to use correct grammar – you can hear these differences by listening to your child talk. Instead of seeing her point and say, “doggie,” you will hear, “Look at the dog.” The more your child talks and listens to others, the more words and expressions she will learn and use.
- Get Ready to Read! Research shows that children whose parents read to them have an easier time learning to read. Read your child fun and lively stories every day and encourage playing with books.
- On the “Write” Path to Reading. Leave “I love you” or “see you when you get home” notes in a lunchbox, or have your child hold the grocery list while you shop to practice reading.
- Take your child to the Library – once they reopen. Get into a routine of taking your child to the library for story time and to check out books. The librarian will also likely have recommendations. Check with your local library during this unprecedented time to see what, if any, virtual support they have to offer.
Literacy Book Recommendations:
- Freight Train by Donald Crews
- The Family Book by Todd Parr
- The Big Shiny Sparkly First Words Book by Susie Lacome
Additional Literacy-related Resources:
- Just in Time Parenting (JITP) is an outreach innovation that brings high quality, research-based information to families at the time it can be most useful and make the biggest difference in their lives. You can “ask an expert” and hear from other parents.
- Your child may still be mastering her ABCs, but she can probably find her way around her favorite Web site better than you can. Scholastic offers 5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids 3-5 to help you keep your connected child safe online.
- There are lots of activities, story hours, and BOOKS at the library – many libraries are offering ZOOM story hours, and more during this time. The Maine State Library has a searchable database of every library with hours, activities, and links to each library’s website.
Science & Math Tips for Parents with Children 3 to 5 Years Old
Every time you compare the sizes of two shapes and decide which is bigger, your child is building the foundation of their math and science skills. Keep up this important work by encouraging your child to experiment and explore. Ask a question, then help them take steps to find the answer. Try exploring with household items like soap and water or food coloring. Make a map of your neighborhood then do a treasure hunt. There are lots of ways to have fun and build math and science skills.
- I Spy with My Little Eye. Draw or trace two identical images for your child, then add a few small differences to one of them. Challenge your child to find the differences between the two pictures.
- Create from Common Objects. Teach your child how to make their own stamps by cutting a design into a potato or dry sponge. Then dip the home-made stamp into paint and allow your child to make their mark by pressing it onto paper.
- Get Organized. Teach your child how to sort and organize objects like books, clothes, blocks or any other household object. Challenge your child to sort the objects in piles according to various characteristics such as color, size or texture.
Science & Math-related Book Recommendations:
Additional Science & Math Resources:
- Science experiment ideas and info about the human body can be found at this friendly family science website, Science with Me.
- Cool Math for Parents is a website is designed by a math professor and cartoonist. Games are designed for slightly older children, but it’s a great place for ideas.
- Country Fairs are great places to learn about animals, automobiles, farms and more. The Maine Association of Agricultural Fairs has a list of state fairs on their website.
Parent Resources have been developed for the Alfond Scholarship Foundation (ASF) by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and are provided to you by the ASF, which is solely responsible for the Parent Resources content.