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Child Care Choices: Resources for parents of preschoolers

brushing teethThe preschool years are a time of rapid change. Children aged 3-5 are developing emotionally, physically, socially and cognitively and seem to be testing their independence every step of the way.

Parenting a preschooler brings rewards and frustrations as little ones go through exciting developmental stages and pass through some sometimes puzzling emotional phases.

Following are some resources that can help parents navigate the busy preschool years and guide their children through various aspects of their development.

• Healthychildren.org, a website of the American Academy of Pediatrics, contains a variety of articles relevant to parenting preschool-aged children. Parents can find expert information from pediatricians on developmental milestones, preschool readiness, social and cognitive development and dealing with things like fear of the dark and nightmares.

• The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has a website for families (families.naeyc.org) containing expert information on child development, including dealing with issues like picky eaters, fear of bath time, separation anxiety and sleep problems; helping children build fine motor skills; choosing appropriate toys; and much more. There are tips also for fostering learning in reading, writing, music and math, plus articles on finding a preschool program, how to support a child’s learning at preschool by listening and asking questions, and establishing good parent-teacher communication.

• “Helping Your Preschool Child,” a publication of the U.S. Department of Education, features techniques parents can use to encourage their children to develop the skills necessary for success in school and in life by focusing on activities that make learning fun. To download a free copy, visit ed.gov/early-learning/resources and click on the link to the booklet.

• The Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, is a great resource for identifying quality books and websites for children. Visit ala.org/alsc, click on “Parents,” and navigate the drop-down menu for award-winning book titles, recommended reading lists and “Great Websites for Kids,” a database of exemplary children’s websites.

• The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has produced a video, “Baby Steps: Learn the Signs. Act Early,” designed to teach parents how to look for developmental milestones and what to do if there is concern about a child’s development. To view the video, visit cdc.gov/cdctv/babysteps.



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