Tips for Developing the Whole Child

These simple tips can help you work on many areas of development that will help your child become a well-rounded person. They also help extend your child's learning at home. You can find additional suggestions in the other themes.


You child is learning to order objects and events. Have your child practice ordering during different times of the day, such as when you're getting ready for school or when you're playing together. Encourage her or him to use the words first, middle, and last when talking about the series of objects or events.

Literacy and Language Development

Encourage your child to choose a favorite book for your daily reading time. Three- and four-year-old children enjoy reading the same book multiple times. You can concentrate on different aspects of the book each time, such as the illustrations, the characters, and the text.

Ask your child how people, objects, and events are the same and different. For example, look at a photograph of your child when he or she was a baby and at a more recent photograph. Ask your child to tell how he or she has changed and stayed the same. You can also ask your child to tell how things are similar and different in a book or story you are reading.

Social/Emotional Development

Encourage your child to take care of his or her things. For example, tell him or her to put away his or her blocks and other toys after he or she is finished playing with them. Talk with your child about why it's important to put away things, for example, so that people don't trip and fall or so you can easily find them the next time you want to use them.


Encourage your child to create original artwork using a variety of materials, such as construction paper, glue, markers, and crayons. You can also gather materials in or around the home, such as leaves and sticks. Display your child's work around the house and/or keep a portfolio of her or his work. Write the date and notes about the piece for your records.

Fine Motor Skills

Encourage your child to use his or her index finger and thumb to pick up small objects instead of using his or her fist. For example, have him or her pick up cereal or other healthy snacks with his or her fingers.