fbpx
Free Consultation

Top Ten Tips to Develop Your Child from Birth to Kindergarten

During the first five years of a child’s life, their brain is at its most flexible, making it a critical time for learning and growth. Early childhood development sets the foundation for lifelong learning, behavior, and mental health.

We have listed ten early childhood development tips for you to keep in mind while navigating this sometimes chaotic — but wonderful — first chapter of your child’s life.


Table of contents:

1. Language development
2. Nursery rhymes
3. Counting
4. Awareness of left and right
5. Gross motor skills
6. Fine motor skills
7. Memory
8. Concentration
9. Creativity
10. Emotional and social development
Key takeaways


1. Language development

Undoubtedly, language development is one of the key milestones during early childhood development. A significant part of a child’s intellectual development hinges on their language milestones. Research has, for example, revealed a dramatic link between a language delay and learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

Repetition is key to language development. Research shows that a child who has started talking must hear a word roughly 500 times before it becomes part of their active vocabulary.

The more a parent talks to a child, often repeating the same words, phrases, or sentence structures, the sooner the child will learn language. Many parents believe a large variety of books at home will help expose their children to more words. In truth, reading the same book or a few books over and over will benefit language development a lot more than reading a large variety.

2. Nursery rhymes

Many of us still know nursery rhymes from our childhood, but what we don’t realize is that they assist with a skill called phonological awareness. Phonological awareness refers to an individual’s awareness of the sound structure of language. It is a listening skill that includes the ability to distinguish units of speech, such as rhymes, syllables in words, and individual sounds in syllables. 

Research has shown that knowledge of nursery rhymes among three-year-olds was a significant predictor of pre-reading skills later on, even after the children’s IQ and their mothers’ educational levels had been factored out.

3. Counting

One can argue that counting is to math what sounds are to reading. In the same way that a child will struggle to decode words when they aren’t familiar with the sounds in a word, they will struggle to do equations if counting has not been automatized.

When teaching counting, it is important to start on a concrete level, before moving to the pictorial, and lastly the abstract. Concrete is the “doing” stage. Start by counting physical objects such as blocks, beans, apples, and eggs. Pictorial is the “seeing” stage. The child may now be asked to draw two blocks, three beans, five apples, or six eggs.

Abstract is the “symbolic” stage, where children learn the abstract symbols of numbers, for example, that two is written as 2, and three as 3. Children must have a solid understanding of the concrete and pictorial stages before the abstract gets introduced.

4. Awareness of left and right

Many children struggle to tell their left and right apart. What parents may not realize is that this basic ability forms part of an important visual processing skill.

Later on in life, when reading and writing come into play, knowing left from right will make a massive difference. This basic skill helps children distinguish between a b and a d and prevents mirror writing. Mirror-writing is the production of letters, words, or sentences in a reverse direction so that they look normal when viewed in a mirror.

Small acts such as saying, “give me your left leg to wash” during bath time will instill awareness of left and right from a young age.

5. Gross motor skills

Gross motor skills are an important puzzle piece to every child’s quality of life. Gross motor skills are involved in the movement and coordination of the arms, legs, and other large body parts. They participate in actions such as running, jumping, catching, or swimming, but in education, it goes way beyond that.

Efficient control of the larger muscle groups in the neck, shoulder, and trunk is necessary to maintain stability for the fingers and hands to complete fine motor skills (e.g., writing or drawing). Something as simple as sitting upright in class, or having the endurance to attend a full day’s class may be severely affected if gross motor skills are not developed from a young age.

Developing gross motor skills at home is as simple as playing a game of hopscotch as it helps with balance and coordination. Blowing bubbles and having your kids chase them encourage them to run, jump, crawl, or crouch.

6. Fine motor skills

Fine motor skills are involved in smaller movements in the wrists, hands, fingers, feet, and toes. Fine motor skills help children perform tasks such as using a spoon or fork, buttoning their clothes, or tying shoelaces. Children with poor motor skills may typically develop an awkward or immature pencil grasp, poor handwriting, and their writing may be messy, slow, or laborious.

Try a game with your child to see who can crumple pieces of soft paper the fastest into a tight ball. The action of crumpling paper is a wonderful exercise to develop fine motor skills. It is very important, however, that they must use one hand only for this task. The child may also not press their hand against their body.

Other exercises include playing with playdough or watering the garden with a spray bottle.

7. Memory

Memory is our ability to encode, store, retain, and recall information and past experiences. It is probably the most important of all cognitive functions. Skills such as planning, focus, and problem-solving can all be improved by developing a child’s memory.

One of the oldest memory games is Matching Pairs. It is a card game in which all the cards are laid face down on a surface, and two cards are flipped face up over each turn. The object of the game is to turn over pairs of matching cards.

There are many versions in stores, but you could simply print out different images and make your own cards!

8. Concentration

Activities to improve concentration include building puzzles or listening to stories that you could gradually extend in length. Another amazing tool to improve concentration is playing outdoors. Studies have shown that exposure to green outdoor spaces improves concentration and impulse control.  

A study of more than 400 children, diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), has found a link between the children’s routine play settings and the severity of their symptoms. Those who regularly played outdoors with lots of green (grass and trees, for example) had milder ADHD symptoms than those who played indoors or in built outdoor environments.

9. Creativity

When we think of all the skills a child needs to learn to succeed academically, we often think of reading, writing, concentration, and math. However, one of the most important skills children need to develop is creativity. Children use creativity to write stories, solve problems, play music, make arts and crafts, and even perform complex math operations.

Many believe that creativity is something that comes naturally. In truth, creativity is a skill that can be nurtured and developed from a young age.

Lots of different experiences will help your baby’s imagination to grow. Give your baby tummy time on a mat outdoors; this lets your baby see the world differently. Try messy play with your toddler using mud, sand, mud, paints, clay, or playdough.

10. Emotional and social development

An often-overlooked area, which is essential to a child’s development, is emotional and social development. A lack of these may affect a child’s self-confidence, empathy, and the ability to develop meaningful and lasting friendships and partnerships later in life.

Small acts and being aware of emotional milestones will help you navigate this. At bedtime, talk through their feelings: “What made you happy today?” “What made you sad or angry?”

Create opportunities for your child to develop positive relationships with people of various ages. Practice nurturing behavior and care for other living things like plants and pets.


Key takeaways


Edublox offers live online tutoring to students with dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and other learning challenges. Our students are in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere. Book a free consultation to discuss your child’s learning needs.